Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Harold, Chester, Howie and Bunnicula, the menagerie who debuted in Bunnicula , return in a mouth-watering caper. Mr. Monroe is making his famous fudge (recipe included). Of course Harold and Howie (both pooches) try their best to mooch a mouthful or two, but the fudge is strictly for the library bake sale. Then the Monroes rush off in such haste that they forget the fudge. Withstanding temptation, the animals stalwartly guard the treasure from the mysterious burglar who's been haunting the neighborhood. But while they fall asleep on the job the fudge disappears. Howe's whodunit, replete with surprise resolution, and Morrill's dashing watercolor illustrations will thoroughly beguile young readers. Ages 4-8. (Aug.)
This spin-off from the longer books about Bunnicula introduces readers to the cast of characters they will meet in the those books. Harold is the sensible dog who lives with the Monroes and their other pets including Chester and Howie. Chester, the cat is the smarter member of this menagerie; he also thinks that the Monroe's pet rabbit Bunnicula is a vampire. The story starts out simply enoughHarold loves chocolate. When he smells the fudge that Mr. Monroe is making it drives him crazy with longing. The plot thickens as the animals learn from Chesterwho reads the daily newspaperthat there is a burglar loose in the neighborhood. Chester, Harold and Howie all decide that it is their duty to guard the houseand the fudge. The mystery gets even more confusing, but does come to a satisfying and tasty conclusion. Kids who get a laugh at these antics may want to move on to the other books that James Howe has written including the famed Bunnicula. This is a Level 3 book in the "Ready-To-Read" series. 2004, Atheneum/Simon & Schuster, Ages 6 to 8.
Children's Literature - Melissa A. Caudill
It is great to see an early reader version of the popular "Bunnicula" chapter book series. Young readers are sure to become hooked on the beginner chapter books after reading the misadventures of these hilarious animals. Harold, a shaggy dog that belongs to the Monroe family, narrates the story about the day he and his fellow mates, Chester the cat and Howie the dog are in charge of guarding the house, especially the fresh-baked homemade fudge. As they awaken from a nap to a loud bang they discover a tray of fudge has turned white, while another one is missing. They suspect Bunnicula, the vampire bunny, who is locked in his cage and has tricked them in the past. When they discover the second tray of fudge is gone, they must chase and catch the thief. This is part of the "Ready-To-Read", Level 3 series. The Level 3 readers are described for children who are "reading proficiently" and have "rich vocabulary, more challenging stories, and longer chapters." The engaging plot will have readers craving more of the "Bunnicula" series.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-- Harold and Chester are back in another picture-book adventure--a mouth-watering treat for chocolate-loving Bunnicula (Atheneum, 1979) fans. Hot Fudge, in this case, refers to the pilfered variety, and, when a plate of the rich, brown, gooey stuff appears to have turned white, the vampire bunny is the prime suspect. These abbreviated adventures of the Monroe family pets can't hold a candle to their full-length predecessors. Still, Harold's breezy narrative has the same ingenuous charm, nicely tempered, as always, by Chester's arrogant pragmatism. And, if Morrill's watercolors seem a bit innocuous, his animal characters do have spirit and are more than equal to the task. Salivating fudge fanciers will welcome ``Mr. Monroe's Famous Fudge'' recipe, complete with admonishments against sharing the treat with their pets. --Marcia Hupp, Mamaroneck Public Library, NY