Bunnicula


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Bunnicula

(pop culture)

This vampire, a favorite of children, does not wear a tuxedo and cape and his hair does not sweep back in a widow’s peak. He also does not need to shape-shift into an animal form, because he already is a rabbit. He does not partake of blood, but rather a series of adventures, all of which are chronicled by James and Deborah Howe, who have coauthored several books featuring the character Bunnicula.

According to the premier story, Bunnicula (1979), Bunnicula made his first appearance in a theater during a Dracula movie. He was found by Pete and Toby Monroe, who made him their pet, and named him Bunnicula after the movie. He joined the Monroe’s other two pets, Chester the cat and Harold the dog. Even though he does not suck blood, Bunnicula attacks objects such as carrots and tomatoes and sucks the juice out of them, leaving only a husk behind. He sleeps all day and has two fangs, just like Count Orlock.

One evening soon after his arrival, Bunnicula awoke from his daytime sleep and, during the night, headed for the kitchen. Chester spotted him raiding the refrigerator. He left behind the white husk of a tomato from which he had sucked the life (color) and juice. While Mrs. Monroe was baffled, Chester, who spent his spare time reading books, figured out that Bunnicula was a vampire. Chester also knew how to deal with the situation. He placed garlic on the floor in such a way as to keep the rabbit out of the kitchen. It was Harold who recognized that Chester was starving Bunnicula and doing so for no reason. Harold believed the rabbit was not doing anyone any harm and Chester should not act in a hostile manner toward him. While convincing Chester of the righteousness of his argument, he smuggled the thirsty Bunnicula into the kitchen. Eventually Chester, Harold, and Bunnicula would become friends and share a number of adventures.

By the 1990s, Bunnicula had become a well-recognized character in English-language children’s literature, completely accepted by teachers and parents in spite of the vampire element. Author James Howe turned out a host of stories and a variety of activity books provided entertainment and education for Bunnicula’s youthful fans. Additionally, the earlier books remained in print in new editions.

Sources:

Howe, Deborah and James Howe. Bunnicula. New York: Atheneum Publishers, 1979. Rept. New York: Avon, 1980. 98 pp.
Howe, James. The Celery Stalks at Midnight. New York: Macmillan Company, 1983. 144 pp.
———. Nighty-Nightmare. New York: Macmillan Company, 1987. 121 pp.
———. The Fright Before Christmas. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1988. 48 pp.
———. Scared Silly: A Halloween Treat. New York: Morrow, 1989. 40 pp.
———. Hot Fudge. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1990. 48 pp.
———. Creepy-Crawly Birthday. New York: William Morrow and Company, 1991. 48 pp.
———. Bunnicula Fun Book. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1993. 164 pp.
———. Rabbit-Cadabra. New York: Morrow, 1993. 48 pp.
———. Bunnicula Escapes. New York: Tupelo Books, 1994. 12 pp.
———. Bunnicula Strikes Again. New York: Aladdin Library, 2001. 128 pp.
———. Howie Monroe and the Doghouse of Doom. Series: Tales from the House of Bunnicula. New York: Athenaeum, 2003. 96 pp. hb. Illus. Bret Helquist.
———. The Vampire Bunny (Bunnicula and Friends). New York: Athenaeum, 2004. 48 pp.
———. Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allen Crow. New York: Ginee Seo Books, 2006. 138 pp.

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