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Bunnicula Strikes Again! (Bunnicula Series)

Bunnicula Strikes Again! (Bunnicula Series)

4.4 28
by James Howe, Alan Daniel

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"Let's just say the matter is under control," Chester slyly tells his pals Harold and Howie. But what on earth does he mean?
It seems that Bunnicula, the vampire rabbit, is back to his old ways -- or so Chester thinks, having found pale vegetables drained of their juices scattered about the Monroe family kitchen. And now, once and for all, Chester is determined to


"Let's just say the matter is under control," Chester slyly tells his pals Harold and Howie. But what on earth does he mean?
It seems that Bunnicula, the vampire rabbit, is back to his old ways -- or so Chester thinks, having found pale vegetables drained of their juices scattered about the Monroe family kitchen. And now, once and for all, Chester is determined to save the world from this threat.
But why has Bunnicula -- so frisky just a short time ago -- been so listless and tired of late? Is this part of Chester's scheme? Can Harold let Chester get away with hurting an innocent bunny, no matter what his harebrained suspicions are?
It is not long before the Monroes notice Bunnicula's condition and rush him to the vet, and then the chase is on, ending up with a dramatic confrontation in a most unusual (and dangerous!) location.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The Monroe animals prove themselves up to scratch in this sublimely silly Bunnicula caper (following Return to Howliday Inn). Newcomers will quickly catch on to the series' premise: Chester the cat has persuaded Harold, the mutt narrator cum author, and Howie, the dachshund puppy, that the Monroe boys' pet rabbit is really a vampire-just look at the way he drains vegetables of their juices. As this installment begins, Harold believes the household safe, and so he is unnerved by Chester's cryptic comment, "Let's just say the matter is under control.... At last." As usual with the Bunnicula books, the plot is less important than Howe's contagious amusement in telling his story. The tone drolly combines high diction and animal nature (e.g., in a note to "his" editor, Harold muses, "Odd, that I, whose greatest ambition has always been the uninterrupted nap, should... find himself the semi-famous author of several books!"). The slyly observed dynamics of the cast act as a foil to the cheerfully loopy conceit. For example, the animals watch as the Monroe brothers fight: "Pete retorted with a backhanded insult. Toby lobbed a high string of colorful adjectives capped by a perfectly executed oxymoron.... `And the match goes to Toby,' Chester commented. `Nice wordplay.'" Howe's wordplay is better than nice, and the match goes to him-and to his readers. Ages 8-12. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Gr 3-4-The vampire bunny takes center stage once again. Like the previous books, this one is told by the Monroe family's dog Harold, who tells of strange events involving the household pets. His tale begins with a sense of almost Gothic doom-could it be the beginning of the end of a seemingly ill Bunnicula? It takes the combined efforts of Harold, Chester the cat, and Howie the pup to figure out what is ailing him, and the help of two cats, Felony and Miss Demeanor, whom they had met while being boarded at Chateau Bow-Wow, to bring the events to conclusion. Harold's dog's-eye perspective provides an excellent view of Chester's plans first to do Bunnicula in because he's convinced that the rabbit is dangerous, and then to save him. Howe develops distinct personalities for the animals as well as for the humans. The cover art seems to promise a creepy, scary story; despite this initial indicator of a dark road ahead, the story itself circles around universal sweet dreams-to be safe, to belong, and to have a pet curled up beside you.-Pat Leach, Lincoln City Libraries, NE Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Once again Harold, "canine author extraordinaire," relates a madcap tale lit up with clever character twists and plots going hilariously awry. Convinced that his long-eared nemesis is up to something, Chester the cat hopes to weaken Bunnicula by drinking his carrot juice on the sly. To Chester's dismay, the worried Monroes cart their suddenly lethargic bunny to the vet's, touching off a merry chase that includes a suspicious Harold and the subintellectual Howie. Adding cameos of feline ne'er-do-wells Felony and Miss Demeanor, plus other characters from previous books, Howe (Rabbit-Cadabra!, 1993, etc.) flogs the plot along to a melodramatic climax; Chester and Bunnicula are caught up in the demolition of the old movie house in which Bunnicula was first found, and are seen plunging into oblivion together. By the time the two are pulled safely from the rubble, Chester has suffered an astonishing change of heart, and Howie expresses literary ambitions—developments that fans of this long-running, and deservedly popular, series will view with approval, or alarm. (b&w illustrations) (Fiction. 10-12)

From the Publisher
"A madcap tale with clever character twists and plots going hilariously awry." -- Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Bunnicula Series
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Sales rank:
860L (what's this?)
File size:
2 MB
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The End
How unexpectedly the end can come. Had I even thought such a thing was possible, I might have noticed the warning signs that Friday night one May when, ironically, I was feeling so at peace with the world. I remember the feeling well, for although a general sense of contentedness is part of a dog's nature, keen awareness of just how fortunate one is comes along less frequently than you might imagine. This was one of those rare moments.
I was stretched out on the bed next to my master, Toby. I call him my master because while there are four members of the Monroe family, it is the youngest who treats me with the greatest kindness and consideration. On Friday nights, for instance, Toby, who is allowed to stay up late to read, shares his stash of treats with me. He knows how much I love chocolate, and so he's always sure to have at least one chocolaty delight ready and waiting for me. (Some of my readers have written expressing their concern about the potentially detrimental effects of chocolate on dogs, to which I can only say that while it is true some dogs have been known to become ill from eating chocolate, others have not. Luckily, I fall into the latter category. Also, I hasten to remind my readers that I, like the books I have written, am a work of fiction.)
Parenthetical digression aside, I return to that Friday evening in May when I lay happily snuggled up next to my favorite boy, my mouth blissfully tingling from the lingering taste of my favorite food -- a chocolate cupcake with cream in the middle, yum. Toby's hand rested on my head, which in turn rested on his outstretched legs. The warm spring breeze wafted through the open window, gently carrying Toby's voice as he read to me. Toby is the kind of reader who devours books -- and long books, at that -- unlike his older brother, Pete, whose reading is limited to a series of truly gross horror novels called FleshCrawlers. (Believe me, I know they're gross; I chewed on one once and the cheap glue they use on the bindings made me sick as a -- you should pardon the expression -- dog. Give me Literature any day!)
Lulled by Toby's voice, I remember thinking how perfect my life seemed at that moment. My best friend, Chester, had undoubtedly settled himself in on the brown velvet armchair in the living room below and was now contentedly sleeping or shedding or reading. He, like Toby, is a voracious reader, which may surprise you, given that he's a cat; but, again, in the world of fiction, anything is possible. Consider the other two members of the Monroe menagerie: Howie, a wirehaired dachshund puppy who Chester maintains is part werewolf, and Bunnicula, a rabbit with fangs. While Chester doesn't concern himself much with Howie's howling, seeing it as irritating but harmless, he does work himself up into a fancy frenzy from time to time over the dangers he imagines Bunnicula poses to our vegetables, our family, the town in which we live, and, when he's really on a roll, Civilization as we know it.
Now all of this may seem very strange to you, but to me it is just life. I couldn't picture it any other way. Over time, the eight of us in our family -- four people, four pets -- have settled into the comforting rhythms of a song without end. Or so I thought.
I had been only vaguely listening to the story Toby was reading. I knew that it was about the famous detective Sherlock Holmes and his friend Watson because those stories were all that Toby had been reading for weeks. I had grown fond of Holmes and had often thought that his friendship with Watson was something like mine with Chester. I was therefore unprepared for the terrible event that concluded this particular tale, in which Watson tells of the final confrontation between Holmes and his archenemy, the evil Professor Moriarty.
"'As I turned away I saw Holmes, with his back against a rock and his arms folded, gazing down at the rush of waters. It was the last that I was ever destined to see of him in this world,'" Toby read.
I lifted my head and woofed. Was it possible? Would Holmes perish? Could an author be so cruel as to kill off his most beloved character?
As if he could read my mind, Toby looked down at me with a forlorn expression on his face. "Are you worried about what's going to happen?" he asked. "I wish I could tell you the story has a happy ending, boy, but...Well, I guess I'd better just finish reading."
I listened attentively to every word. You may imagine my shock when it was revealed that Holmes and Moriarty, locked in a deadly embrace, tumbled from the precipice overlooking Reichenbach Falls into "that dreadful cauldron of swirling water and seething foam," where they were lost forever.
I couldn't believe it! The author had really done it! He had killed Sherlock Holmes! I would have written him an irate letter then and there if I'd known where the Monroes kept their stamps -- and if it hadn't occurred to me that the author had been dead for three-quarters of a century.
I began to whimper and Toby, whose own eyes were glistening, bent over me and crooned, "There, there, boy. It's only a story." But Toby is a sensitive lad, and I knew that for him, as for me, there was something more here than a story. There was the painful recognition that all too quickly things can change. I didn't like it. I wanted my world to go on as it always had. I wanted to be sure that Friday nights would always mean treats with Toby, that Chester would always be my friend, that Bunnicula would always be in his cage by the living-room window, and that Howie would always, for reasons no one understands, call me Uncle Harold and Chester Pop.
I jumped down from Toby's bed with an urgent need to check downstairs and be sure that everything was in its proper place.
"Hey, where're you going, boy?" I heard Toby call. I turned back to give his hand a quick lick, then bounded from the room and down the stairs.
"Chester!" I cried out as I turned the corner from the hall into the living room. His chair was empty!
"Chester! Where are you?" I called into the darkened room.
As my eyes adjusted, I could see that Howie was not curled up under the coffee table where he should have been. Where was everybody? Thank goodness, Bunnicula at least was where he belonged, sitting in his cage, gazing out at the empty living room.
I trotted over to his cage and said hello. Slowly he turned his head in my direction, and had I known then what I would later learn, I would have seen the listlessness in the movement, might even have detected the lack of luster in his normally sparkly eyes. Do I only imagine it now, or was there something behind that glassy gaze that was saying, "Help me, Harold"? How easy it is to look back and see everything so differently
At the time, I was just relieved he was there. I didn't pay him any more mind at that moment because the door to the kitchen creaked open just then and through it appeared Chester, licking his chops.
"Where were you?" I said, trying to sound less alarmed than I felt and failing miserably "I called you and called you."
Chester parked himself next to me and nonchalantly turned his tongue's attention to the tip of his tail. "For heaven's sake, Harold, get a grip on yourself. I was in the kitchen having a little snack. Knowing your inability to go without food for less than five minutes at a stretch, I assumed you'd be joining me. Now what's all the excitement about?"
"Well, I, that is..." I let my sentence drop, feeling foolish all of a sudden to be so worked up over a mere story. I might have reminded myself of the many times Chester had not only worked himself up but practically turned the house upside down from his hysterical overreaction to something he'd read -- but then Chester is a cat and prone to overreacting.
"It was just -- just something I read," I told him.
He snickered. "I understand. The list of ingredients on candy wrappers can be alarming."
He chortled to himself as I tried to think of a speedy comeback. Unfortunately, I am notoriously slow at speedy comebacks, so I gave up the effort even as I silently rejoiced that this exchange was proof that life in the Monroe house was proceeding as usual.
If further proof was needed, Howie came skipping down the stairs, his toenails clicking wildly. He raced to our sides and skidded to a halt.
"Boy," he said breathlessly, "that was so scary!" The poor kid was quivering.
"What happened?" I asked.
I noticed that Chester had stopped bathing his tail and was staring intently at Howie. His eyes were sharp. His ears were perked. He was ready to make his move on whatever had so frightened the impressionable young puppy.
"W-well," Howie stammered, "there was this giant p-p-potato, see, and he ate up everything in the refrigerator and when seventh grader Billy-Bob Krenshaw went to get milk for his cereal -- "
"Hold it right there!" Chester snapped. Howie, who always does what Chester tells him, froze, his, jaw dropped open, and his tongue unfurled like a flag hanging off a porch on a windless Fourth of July.
"Are you talking about what I think you're talking about?" Chester went on.
We waited.
"You can move your mouth now," Chester said.
"Thanks," said Howie. I was talking about FleshCrawlers number nineteen, The Potato Has a Thousand Eyes. I was reading it over Pete's shoulder. Until he told me I had to leave because I had breath like the bottom of a garbage pail, which I resent because I haven't been near the garbage for a whole week, not since that time the baby-sitter left the lid off, which reminds me -- "
"What, Pop?"
"Do you have a point to make here? Do you know what I mean by a point?"
"Yes, I have a point to make!" said Howie. "And what was your other question? Did I know what a point meant? Of course I do. I had an appointment just last week with the vet. Get it, Pop? Get it, Uncle Harold?"
Howie chuckled merrily while Chester began to fume. I could have cried at how normal everything was.
"My point," Howie said, "was that the story was really scary. Especially the part where Billy-Bob's pet is transformed into a french-fried poodle."
Chester shook his head in disgust. "Who writes this drivel?" he asked.
"Drivel?" said Howie. "I don't know what drivel is, but I can tell you one thing. M.T. Graves does not write drivel! Besides, it could really happen -- you said so yourself, Pop."
"What could really happen?"
"Vegetables can be dangerous."
"I've always said that about spinach," I interjected.
"Don't you remember when you were worried that Bunnicula was attacking vegetables all over town, draining them of their juices, and you said the vegetables would turn into vampires, too? Remember, Pop? You had us going around staking them through their little veggie hearts with toothpicks!"
"Well..." said Chester. I couldn't tell if the memory was making him proud or embarrassed. He's often poised between the two. You know how cats are -- you never know if they're going to make a cool move or a fool move, and most of the time neither do they.
Howie pressed on. "You do still think Bunnicula's a vampire, don't you?"
"Of course," Chester said.
"And you do think he's a danger to vegetables, right?"
Chester hesitated before speaking. "Let's just say, he used to be a danger. I don't think we have to worry about that any longer."
"What do you mean?" I asked. Then I remembered. "Oh, because the Monroes feed him a liquid diet, he no longer drains vegetables of their juices. Is that it?"
Chester's face took on an odd expression. "Let's just say the matter is under control, Harold. At last."
"But, Chester," I said, "Bunnicula hasn't attacked any vegetables since he escaped that time. Surely you're no longer worried about him."
"Oh, I'm no longer worried about him. No, I'm not worried at all."
And with that, he jumped up on the brown velvet armchair, bid us good night, and, after circling and pawing at the seat cushion for a good five minutes, proceeded to fall into a deep and seemingly untroubled sleep.
Howie and I meandered over to Bunnicula's cage.
"What do you think Pop meant about everything being under control?" Howie asked as we regarded our lethargic chum.
"Chester just likes to hear himself talk sometimes," I told Howie. "And he likes to believe that Bunnicula is a threat. But I don't think he'd do him any real harm. After all, he's one of the family."
Howie smiled. "My brother, the bunny," he said. "Hey, that reminds me, Uncle Harold. Did you read FleshCrawlers number thirty-three, My Sister the Pickled Brain? It is so cool. See, there's this girl named Laura-Lynn O'Flynn who has this twin sister, and one day she asks her to help her with this science experiment and something goes way wrong and the next thing you know..."
As Howie nattered on, I thought about what I'd said to him. Although I was pleased to find life carrying on as usual in the Monroe household, I was troubled that something might once again be fanning the spark of Chester's suspicions and animosity toward an innocent rabbit -- one we called a friend. Did I really believe Chester would do Bunnicula no harm? After all, he had tried to destroy Bunnicula once. How far would he have gone? How far would he go now? I had no answers and I did not like where the questions were taking me.
It was only later that night when I was fast asleep that the pieces came together as they do in dreams -- the lifeless look in Bunnicula's eyes, Chester's mysterious comments, and the disturbing scene from the story Toby had read to me earlier. Was it one thing in particular, or was it all of the pieces floating dreamlike through my slumber, that put the questions into my mind that would not go away: Might Chester and Bunnicula be headed for their own fateful plunge from the precipice? Could this be the end of Bunnicula?

Text copyright © 1999 by James Howe

Meet the Author

James Howe is the author of more than ninety books for young readers, including the modern classic Bunnicula and its highly popular sequels. In 2001, Howe published The Misfits, the story of four outcast seventh-graders who try to end name-calling in their school. The Misfits is now widely read and studied in middle schools throughout the country, and was the inspiration for the national movement known as No Name-Calling Week (NoNameCallingWeek.org), an event observed by thousands of middle and elementary schools annually. There are three companion novels to The Misfits: Totally Joe (2005), Addie on the Inside (2011), and Also Known as Elvis (2014). Howe’s many other books for children from preschool through teens frequently deal with the acceptance of difference and being true to oneself. Visit him online at JamesHowe.com.

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Bunnicula Strikes Again! (Bunnicula Series) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 28 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My son is 8 years old and in third grade. His DRA reading level is 34-38, and this series is perfect. This is the second book in the series that he has read, and he is asking me to pick up the rest of the Bunnicula series. The characters are hilarious; James Howe has a great sense of humor. The story keeps my son engaged and entertained. My son loves this story so much that he is even doing a book report on this book!
sgmaxx More than 1 year ago
ive been reading them since i was young still enjoy re reading ing them
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a realy good book i have heard really good and awsome reviews
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Funny chester the cat is sarcastic and always calling the dog stupid he is my caractor !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (:
Guest More than 1 year ago
it chathches my a tention and it is cool that they always think that bunnicual is a evil BUNNY
Guest More than 1 year ago
the books are so cool I just love them! best series you can find in a school library!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
GrzeszDeL More than 1 year ago
I read this book as a child and enjoyed it, so I bought it for my son. He enjoyed it too. It is amusing and light. Buy it for your first to fourth grader.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have all of your book's
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Who posted My NAME!
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TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
After the Monroe family found Bunnicula in the movie theater, and all of the frenzy that came along with him, when they brought him home and things died down, normal is how Harold would describe their home. But just like what happened in the Adventures of Sherlock, Harold soon finds out that anything is subject to change. And tons of changes come his way.

Bunnicula seems to have lost all of "the sparkle in his eyes" and his energy whenever Toby and Pete take him out of his cage to play. Although oblivious at first, Harold begins to worry that something is wrong with Bunnicula. Could he be sick?

Chester knows for certain that it has nothing to do with being sick; he is set on Bunnicula acting this way because he wants to cause trouble. Chester saw what Bunnicula had done before... sucking up all of the juices from the vegetables! Of course, Chester doesn't want Bunnicula to strike again, so his infamous plans are put into action.

On the side, the Monroe family is trying to save the movie theater, where they found Bunnicula, from being torn down, since it's a landmark in Centerville. Ironically, though, the last movie they will be playing is Dracula. Could this possibly have anything to do with why Bunnicula is acting weird?

It's up to Harold and Howie to crack the case, and to make sure Chester doesn't go too far -- or it just might be the end!

BUNNICULA STRIKES AGAIN! is a very entertaining sequel to the hit BUNNICULA. Once again, Harold writes and narrates the story, making the tale even more humorous. Fans of the first book will definitely want to sink their teeth into this one, especially if they want to know what Bunnicula and even Chester are up to now.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In this, the sixth installment of the Bunnicula series, readers are presented with the latest adventures of Harold, Chester, Howie, Bunnicula, and the Monroe family that lacks some of the charm and enjoyment of the previous releases. Once again, the story is set in motion by Chester's conviction that Bunnicula is a vampirous threat to society. The action is then played out along a somewhat boring 'Bunnicula-misses-his-mommy' plotline. Encounters with characters from Chateau Bow-Wow and an irate skunk help add flavor to the otherwise slow-paced story. Howie's character once again brings needed comic releif with his numerous so-bad-they're-funny puns and also his repeated reference to a young reader thrill series titled 'FleshCrawlers'. Perhaps the most disappointing part of the book to me was the seemingly large change in Chester's character. Normally, the cat is portrayed as a loveable know-it-all whose intellect sometimes outweighs his comman sense. In 'Bunnicula Strikes Again!', Chester is presented as a cold, deceitful, almost unlikeable bad guy who truly desires the end of poor Bunnicula. Perhaps one of the biggest highlights of this book are the wonderful illustrations by Alan Daniel. The 'photo' of Bunnicula and Chester in the last chapter is truly a memorable image. It is obvious that James Howe had good intentions with this book. And to a certain degree, he succeeds in providing his readers with some of the entertainment found in the earlier books. 'Bunnicula Strikes Again!' is not a bad book, only a bit of a step down from earlier editions. At the end of the book readers are given a teaser that Howie may begin to write books of his own. If this is true, hopefully he will use his Uncle Harold's 'Bunnicula' and 'Howliday Inn' as guides, and refrain from using the slow paced action in the latest.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I think the book was good exsepet I dont get how thay got a nother dog and chester thought it was a wesr wolf and they dident even rely menchen it and this is the second book.