Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 1979. 978-0-689-30700-3
Synopsis: On a dark and stormy night, the Monroe family comes home from the movies with a rabbit. But this is no ordinary rabbit, as dog Harold and cat Chester first assume: he is white with black fur that looks like a cape, red eyes, and small fangs. Chester assumes that the rabbit Bunnicula (so named by the Monroes because he was found during the film Dracula) is a vampire and Harold must help him to find the truth!
Why I picked it up: I picked it up off of my mom’s school bookshelf because I was curious about the title; mom told me it was funny and that I would enjoy it.
Why I finished it: The story is told from Harold’s point of view and, as a dog, he has some amusing insights into his human family, Chester, and the new arrival. Harold is able to dismiss Chester’s claims as paranoia, but when he is tasked with helping Chester determine whether the rabbit is actually a vampire he is somewhat reluctant but helps anyhow. Part mystery, part comedy, part horror, the book is entertaining, laugh-out-loud funny, and a very quick read with only nine chapters. It is part of a longer series of books featuring Harold, Chester, and Bunnicula that are equally humorous and ridiculous. What really makes the book so funny is Chester’s complete conviction of Bunnicula’s vampiric nature and his amusing efforts to warn the Monroe family about their new pet. Harold is bound by his loyalty as a dog to do the right thing (and he does) but is equally convinced that Chester is crazy and chocolate cupcakes are the most delicious treat ever. Is Bunnicula really a vampire? The readers can decide for themselves.
Other related materials: Howliday Inn by James Howe; The Celery Stalks at Midnight by James Howe; Bunnicula Strikes Again by James Howe; Nighty-Nightmare by James Howe; Return to Howliday Inn by James Howe; Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow by James Howe; It Came From Beneath the Bed! by James Howe; Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville; The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop; The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney