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Mr. and Mrs. Bunny--Detectives…

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny--Detectives Extraordinaire!

by Polly Horvath

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Mr. and Mrs. Bunny — Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath is the story of a pair of rabbits who end up saving Canada from cyber terrorists and rescuing a girl's parents from kidnappers. Meanwhile, all the girl wants to do is save up enough money for white shoes in time for Prince Charles's visit to her school. Instead, though, her parents are missing, her uncle's in a coma and she has to work with two very strange rabbits to put everything to rights!

Polly Horvath's books always have a very strong sense of place. Like the Everything on a Waffle books, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire! is set on and near Vancouver Island. Vancouver Island is the largest of a group of islands to the west of Vancouver city and to the north of Port Angeles, Washington. It is only accessible via water or air; there are no bridges! Madeline and her family happen to live on one of the outlier islands, Hornby, but she goes to public school in Nanaimo (a city on the northeast side of the island). I've included a Google map with instructions on how to get from Hornby to Nanaimo, and they comport with Madeline's own description early on in the book.

On the outskirts of Cumberland (near where Madeline's ferry lands) Mr. and Mrs. Bunny have moved into their new home in a rabbit city. Why Cumberland — well, it's the home of the Marmot Recovery Centre's Cormox Valley Visitor's Centre. And marmots (and foxes) play a role in mischief that will unite the Bunnies and Madeline.

Horvath's books are usually incredibly Canadian but this one is excessively so, and does for Vancouver Island what L.M. Montgomery's books do for Prince Edward Island, Laura Ingalls Wilder's books do for De Smet, South Dakota, or Beverly Cleary's books do for Portland, Oregon. Take for instance, Madeline's parents, Flo and Mildred, are ex-hippies from California. If they're ex-hippies, chances are they're from the Bay Area.

Seems far fetched? Nope. Completely possible. Our one night out on the town for a fancy meal in Victoria (the capital of British Columbia) our waiter asks us where we're from. We tell him we're on a car trip from the Bay Area and he goes to explain how he was born in Santa Clara but raised here. I think of his story every time I think of Madeline's. Though I suspect her parents are more trying on a day to day basis than his were!

The final piece in this equation is an uncle who is one of Canada's top cryptologists. The foxes have come across a key piece of information for running a rabbit flavored food chain but it's in code. Knowing that the best de-coder lives in the area, they decide to kidnap his family to force them to divulge his address. There's just two small problems: their mastery of human English isn't so hot and Flo and Mildred have no clue where he lives (their minds long since rotted by their alternative lifestyle).

What follows is a ridiculous mash up of a typical girl's mystery series and a typical animal fantasy story. Think Nancy Drew teaming up with the animals from The Wind in the Willows. Along with that mashup is threaded some very strong opinions on the monarchy, on parenting, on feminism, commercialism, and the environment. ( )
  pussreboots | May 15, 2015 |
Madeline's hippie parents are kidnapped by foxes and she enlists two newly minted "Detective" bunnies to solve the case. quirky, ages 8 and up.
  bp0128bd | Jan 24, 2014 |
Clever writing and an engaging plot, full of funny details, like the various fox enterprises and rabbit inventions.
Madeline was a perfectly sensible little girl and her hippie parents were very amusing.
One thing I absolutely loved about this book were the illustrations, they were just the most darling things! I really wish there had been more of them.

All in all a very entertaining read for little kids. ( )
  Isa_Lavinia | Sep 10, 2013 |
Recommended Ages: Gr. 3-7

Plot Summary: Madeline has been the adult in her family for years. She is so proud to have been awarded awards during her first year in a real school that she is excited to go to the graduation. When she finds out Prince Charles will be there and now must wear white shoes, she is concerned about the price. Regardless, she asks her parents for shoes. They don't understand why someone would want to go to a silly graduation ceremony, especially when Prince Charles will be there and don't offer any help. Madeline gets an opportunity to work at the cafe and makes the money. When she returns, her parents are missing. A note explains they were kidnapped. Madeline is sick with worry because she knows her parents cannot deal with these things well. She takes her only clues -- the letter and a file card with a recipe written in code -- to her uncle, who is a secret decoder for the Canadian government and lives on a secluded island with his butler Jeeves. The kidnappers (the foxes) are hoping Flo and Mildred will reveal how to find Madeline's uncle. They need help decoding Fanny Fox's recipe to start their new factory of Canned Rabbit and By-Products Factory. The only people to help Madeline find her parents are Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who recently moved from their country home to their new home next to Madeline's manor. Madeline is shocked she knows how to speak rabbit, and even marmot, and the Bunnys (sic) attempt to solve her mystery. Will they ever find Madeline's parents?

Setting: small islands East of Vancouver Island

Madeline - takes care of her parents, got awards her first year in a real school for her intelligence
Flo - AKA Harry, Madeline's Dad
Mildred - AKA Denise, Madeline's mom
DatyD - owner of Happy Goat Cafe, hired Madeline when she was 10 y/o, has a goat in the restaurant who pees on customers
Grand Poobah - head fox, tries to teach Flo and Mildred to speak fox but they are horrible at it, amused at Flo and Mildred but really wants to eat them as well
Mr. Bunny - drives the smart car, builds Madeline a place to sleep right next to their house, calls Madeline's butt very big
Mrs. Bunny - likes to pick up short-lived hobbies, enjoys having someone to take care of again
Mrs. Treaclebunny - lives across the street from Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, comes over to their house on most nights to ask for random items (ie. toilet cleaner and toothpaste) then asks for dinner, gets upset when the Bunnys put everything she might want to borrow on their doorstep so they can go to sleep
The Marmot - talks in circles, has to go in disguise to the Olde Spaghetti Factory, loves garlic bread, is greedy and hungry

Recurring Themes: talking animals, mystery, detectives, foxes, marmots, bunnies, hippies, school

Controversial Issues:
pg 7 - "Bunch of crap"
pg 3 - "What the heck is a hooman?"
pg 120 - "Once, on a mad gay vacation"
pg 125 - The Marmot gets drunk on an Irish coffee

Personal Thoughts: I have such a hard time suspending my disbelief, especially when the characters have a hard time too. Madeline was quite surprised that animals could talk. I liked certain parts of this book. I liked that it was smart, but I felt like it was a little slow. I can't think of anything wrong with the book. It just wasn't my personal favorite because I didn't connect that well to it.

Genre: Fantasy (talking animals), humor (intelligent)

Pacing: humor keeps it going, medium amount of action, bigger words and the way the animals talk/think in circles slows it down
Characters: decently well developed, I wanted more back story about why bunnies and marmots don't get along
Frame: must suspend disbelief

Activity: ( )
  pigeonlover | Aug 9, 2013 |
Madeline's hippie parents are kidnapped by foxes and she enlists two newly minted "Detective" bunnies to solve the case. quirky, ages 8 and up.
  Phill242 | May 6, 2013 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375867554, Hardcover)

"National Book Award-winner Polly Horvath's latest, a rabbity romp complete with whimsical illustrations and a quirky cast of characters, has both the look and feel of a classic children's book," raves The Washington Post.

In this hilarious chapter book mystery, meet a girl whose parents have been kidnapped by disreputable foxes, and a pair of detectives that also happen to be bunnies! When Madeline gets home from school one afternoon to discover that her parents have gone missing, she sets off to find them. So begins a once-in-a-lifetime adventure involving a cast of unforgettable characters. There's Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who drive a smart car, wear fedoras, and hate marmots; the Marmot, who loves garlic bread and is a brilliant translator; and many others. Translated from the Rabbit by Newbery Honor-winning author Polly Horvath, and beautifully illustrated by Sophie Blackall, here is a book that kids will both laugh over and love.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:14 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Middle-schooler Madeline's hippy parents have been kidnapped from Hornby Island, Canada, by foxes and Madeline, upon discovering that she can understand animal languages, hires two rabbit detectives to find them.

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