Operation Bunny (Wings & Co. Series #1) [NOOK Book]


When Emily Vole inherits an abandoned shop, she discovers a magical world she never knew existed. And a fairy-hating witch, a mischievous set of golden keys, and a train full of brightly colored bunnies are just a few of the surprises that come with it.

With the help of a talking cat called Fidget and a ...

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Operation Bunny (Wings & Co. Series #1)

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When Emily Vole inherits an abandoned shop, she discovers a magical world she never knew existed. And a fairy-hating witch, a mischievous set of golden keys, and a train full of brightly colored bunnies are just a few of the surprises that come with it.

With the help of a talking cat called Fidget and a grumpy fairy detective called Buster, it is up to Emily to save the fairies and get to the bottom of Operation Bunny.

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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review - Katherine Rundell
Roberts has a line and style reminiscent of Edward Gorey…his superb illustrations…make the story a wilder and larger enterprise…readers of Sally Gardner expect wit, pace and heart, and will not be disappointed. The plot is loopy and the conflict never pretends to realism, but the satisfactions and pleasures are very real.
Publishers Weekly
★ 11/25/2013
Gardner and Roberts are a wickedly fun pairing in this first book in the Wings & Co. series, originally published in the U.K. in 2012. Emily Vole, now age nine, was adopted as a baby by Daisy and Ronald Dashwood; their decision was motivated more by greed than altruism, and after Daisy becomes pregnant with triplets, the Dashwoods demote Emily to servant status. Luckily, kindly neighbor Miss String and her large talking cat, Fidget, are there to educate Emily and introduce her to an exciting and dangerous world of magic. As a witch named Harpella closes in, turning the citizenry into rabbits, Emily embraces newfound abilities and gains unlikely allies. Watching Emily grow from Cinderella-style servant to determined detective-in-training is delightful, and Fidget is always good for a one-liner (of a train conductor–turned-rabbit: “And most probably he has a wife and two carrots at home”). Roberts easily keeps pace with Gardner’s arch humor—with troll-like hair, beak nose, skeletal hands, and stiletto heels, Harpella indeed looks, as Emily observes, “as though she had escaped from a horror film.” Ages 7–10. Author’s agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
Operation Bunny:

"Fans of Roald Dahl or the Clover Twig series may find some new favorite characters here." - BCCB

"Wickedly fun."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“If you like mind-boggling adventures filled with brilliant illustrations and strange talking animals, then do not hesitate to pick up this brilliant book.”—The Guardian

“This brims with quirky charm reminiscent of Eva Ibbotson, Joan Aiken and early JK Rowling.”—The Times

"Roberts’ stylized cartoony illustrations—mostly of cute bunnies—scatter over almost every page, adding a delightful touch to the madcap caper. Emily is a nononsense, brave girl detective, and young readers looking for silly magical adventures will find much to love. Want more? You’re in luck: this is the first title in the Wings & Co. series." - Booklist

"This first brisk, entertaining series entry leaves enough dangling threads to make readers eager for the next." - The Horn Book  

"It should appeal to readers who enjoy whimsy without a lot of stressful conflict. Highlights are the charming Briticisms as well as the merry, slightly off-kilter black-and-white illustrations–especially the depiction of Harpella, who resembles a pointier, more deranged version of Lady Gaga." - School Library Journal

School Library Journal
Gr 2–4—Emily Vole, abandoned by her birth parents, is taken in by a horrid pair of yuppies who aren't able to have children. Or so they think, until triplets come along. Once the shallow Dashwoods have children of their own, they treat Emily like a servant. She finds refuge by visiting Miss String, an eccentric neighbor who has more than a few secrets up her sleeve, including a bipedal talking cat. Fidget's existence is Emily's first hint that magic is real. Sure enough, she discovers that she, too, has special powers-a revelation that kicks off a whirlwind journey through the strife-ridden underbelly of London. Emily and her cohorts must keep certain objects out of the hands of the villainous witch Harpella, who wants to use them to steal souls and obliterate fairies. Though this book purports to be the first case of the Wings and Co. Detective agency, it's not really a mystery. Readers know who the villain is all along. The adventure is in seeing how Emily defeats her. But following Emily's journey is somewhat of a challenge. Children will have to read the novel closely in order to pick up on characters' motivations and to keep track of past events that caused the current state of affairs. Even so, it should appeal to readers who enjoy whimsy without a lot of stressful conflict. Highlights are the charming Briticisms as well as the merry, slightly off-kilter black-and-white illustrations-especially the depiction of Harpella, who resembles a pointier, more deranged version of Lady Gaga.—Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2013-11-20
Emily, an unloved orphan, finds a new family and occupation when she discovers her true calling. Emily Vole might only be 9, but she has lived quite a life. After being abandoned in a hatbox, she is adopted by the Dashwoods, a hedge fund manager and his social-climber wife. After the Dashwoods have triplets of their own, they force Emily into servitude. When she is rescued from her Cinderella life by her neighbor, Miss String, and a man-sized talking cat named Fidget, Emily's life changes: She discovers that she is the new Keeper of the Keys. References to fairy tales add depth to the story and make a clever backdrop to this series kickoff, in which a Circe-like witch turns people into animals and lures fairies to their doom in a magical lamp. Roberts' detailed, humorous black-and-white illustrations are a big step up from the normal chapter-book fare; the train station where Emily is discovered is dramatically drawn with crosshatched lines and a beam of light highlighting the hatbox, while later illustrations show Emily, with her wide, sad eyes, in the full squalor of her life with the Dashwoods. Now that Emily and her buddies have set up their new store and detective agency, readers looking for chapter books on the long side will look forward to more magical cases. (Fantasy. 7-12)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781627792059
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)
  • Publication date: 2/11/2014
  • Series: Wings & Co. Series , #1
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 342,676
  • Age range: 7 - 10 Years
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Sally Gardner

Sally Gardner is an award-winning novelist from London. Her books have been translated into 22 languages and she has sold over 2 million copies in the UK. Called an “idiosyncratic genius” by The Sunday Times, Sally is the author of the acclaimed Magical Children series as well as many novels for teens, including The Double Shadow, Maggot Moon, and I, Coriander

David Roberts is a bestselling British artist who has illustrated many beautiful books for children. He holds a degree in fashion design from Manchester Metropolitan University, and worked various jobs before becoming a children’s book illustrator.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Daisy Dashwood and Ronald Dashwood had everything a young couple could dream of: a house in the suburbs, with box hedges shaped like squirrels, two cars in the drive with customized license plates—HER1 and HIS2—a tennis court, a small swimming pool, a gym. They even owned a villa near Malaga in Spain. But the one thing they didn’t have, the one thing neither money nor nature had been able to give them, was a baby.
Their next-door neighbor, Miss String, had suggested kindly that perhaps Daisy should make a wish.
“A wish,” said Daisy Dashwood. “The cheek of the nosy old bat. As if you get anything by wishing.”
“Quite right, Smoochikins,” replied her husband. “Best to believe in facts and figures, not in airy-fairy wishes and daft stuff like that.”
Ronald knew about such things. He had made his money as a hedge fund manager—whatever a hedge fund manager was. Daisy couldn’t agree more. She trusted in her credit cards: silver, gold, and platinum.
Miss String’s house was a real eyesore. At least, that’s what Daisy called it.
It had crooked turrets and large windows and a charm that the Dashwoods’ house would never possess in a thousand years. Miss String’s ancestors had once owned all the surrounding countryside. Bit by bit, the huge estate had been nibbled away by debt until finally Miss String had been forced to sell the remaining land, leaving her with only the house and garden.
Now Miss String’s house sat in the middle of three bossy buildings, every one of her wealthy neighbors wanting a slice more of her large garden for themselves.
It was Ronald Dashwood who had made what he considered to be a wildly generous offer for nearly all of the garden. This would have left Miss String a small patio at the back and a footpath at the front so that she could get into her house.
“The cheek of the old bat,” said Daisy Dashwood when Ronald’s offer was turned down. “What does she need so much garden for? And the vegetable plot? Oh, my days, hasn’t the woman heard of home deliveries? The next thing she’ll be telling us is that she doesn’t own a computer, or even a TV.”
On both counts Daisy Dashwood was correct. The modern world had somehow passed by Miss String and Fidget, her cat. The closest it had ever come to knocking on her front door was the dreadful collection of “executive” homes that had sprung up around her. Whatever “executive” meant.
One summer morning, the Dashwoods were eating breakfast when Daisy spotted a headline in the newspaper.
“Listen to this, Ronald.”
“What, Smoochikins?”
“It says, Yesterday, Stansted Airport was closed from ten o’clock in the morning until four in the afternoon, causing”—Daisy paused—“pan-de-mon-ium. A hatbox believed to contain an explosive device had been left in the main concourse of the terminal. Andrew Vole, 46, head of the bomb disposal team, said ticking could be heard coming from inside.
“‘It was a very good thing,’ he added, ‘that the baby started crying before we did our controlled explosion.’
When the lid was removed, a baby girl, less than three months old, was found lying in blue tissue paper. Beside her was a trick clock with a cuckoo that squirted water.
The police are now searching for the owner of the hatbox, whom they suspect to be the mother of the infant. They said they had nothing to go on other than the name printed on the hatbox, Emily’s Millinery.
For the time being, the baby is being cared for at Cherryfield Orphanage. A nurse has named her Emily after the hatbox and Vole after the bomb disposal officer.
Daisy paused, then said, “Ronald,” in a voice that sounded like a cross between a whine and a peacock scream. It was the special voice she used when she wanted something expensive or difficult to get.
“I am all ears,” said Ronald, and he was. He had a shocking pair of sticking-out red ears. In fact, they were the first thing you noticed about him.
“What I wish—” said Daisy.
“What I know,” interrupted Ronald, “is that you never wish, Smoochikins.”
“Well, I’m going to make an exception, just this once.”
“All right,” said Ronald. “What is it you wish for?”
“I wish that baby was mine.”
Ronald smiled lovingly at his credit-card-munching wife and said, “Whatever little Smoochikins wants, she shall have.”
And in less time than it took to grow mint, the Dashwoods had adopted Emily Vole. As Fidget the cat said to Miss String on hearing the news, a wish can be a dangerous thing.
“I agree,” sighed Miss String as they sat in their enchanting garden one afternoon while the kettle was busy making the tea. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have said anything.”
“Always best,” agreed Fidget. “Humans, in my considered opinion, don’t think things through, especially when it comes to wishes.”
Which was quite right. Daisy Dashwood never thought at all if she could help it. She had just made a wish. Why, isn’t that what everyone does? Make a wish—it’s easy-peasy.

Text copyright © 2012 by Sally Gardner
Illustrations copyright © 2012 by David Roberts

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2014


    Gtg *walks out*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2014


    Gtg bye

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2014


    Hey hey hey

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  • Posted February 21, 2014

    Adorableness oozes out of this book in great gooey globs. It is

    Adorableness oozes out of this book in great gooey globs. It is a delightful book for young readers. If your kids are too young for Harry Potter, then try this series. It has a lot of the same themes without being so dark. It's perfect for just starting to read middle grade fiction.

    Emily Vole gets adopted by some horrendous people who make her a family slave until their neighbor dies and leaves Emily a large inheritance. Emily decides to run away and try to defeat the witch Harpella before she murders any more fairies. That last bit sounds morbid, but I promise you that this book is not disturbing in the least. It is a light, fun fantasy mystery that kids will love. It has a wicked witch, a giant talking cat, and a couple of fairies to keep things interesting. And bunnies. Lots of bunnies.

    The illustrations are fantastic. I love David Roberts' style. There are several black and white illustrations peppered throughout the book to give kids a visual.

    I can't wait to read the next one. Highly recommended for kids ages 7 and up.

    Content: Clean

    The Cover: How could anyone not love this cover? It screams "AWESOME BOOK INSIDE!"

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  • Posted February 11, 2014

    What a fun story! It reminded me of Matilda in some ways - Emily

    What a fun story! It reminded me of Matilda in some ways - Emily's parents are much like the Wormwoods and Emily is a smart, go-getter much like Matilda. Of course, Matilda didn't rescue some interesting fairies from an evil witch who was turning people into bunnies. Emily Vole was joyfully adopted after she was discovered abandoned in a hat box. But now that her parents have triplets of their own, Emily is relegated to housekeeper and nanny. When a pair of keys, found at a neighbor's house, comes to life, Emily finds herself embroiled in a fairy tale detective's case like no other.

    To give you a better sense of this book, let's try on some different titles that are less ridiculous:

    * Emily Vole and the Attic Treasure
    A pair of keys is found in the attic... that's what starts all the craziness.

    * Emily Vole and the Magic Lamp
    A lamp has been killing fairies, and Emily has to find it.

    * Harpella versus the Magic Keys
    This one alludes to the adventure element. An enemy must be vanquished!

    * Attack of the Pink Bunnies
    Okay, this one is just as silly as the original and a bit like that Killer Tomatoes movie, but I still like it better.

    Clearly I don't get paid to make up book titles, but I fear that Operation Bunny is a title that will turn older middle graders away from this excellent novel. Maybe my titles give you a better idea of how fun it is.

    Three adjectives that describe this book: fun, amusing, surprising

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