Tag Archives: Mark of the Vampire

Bunnicula – Deborah and James Howe

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The rabbit is an alfalfa and banana addict. Peel a banana anywhere in the house and, within moments, the sleeping head will rise, the nose will go into overdrive and the bunny will demand his due. Open a bag of organic alfalfa hay and World’s Most Adorable Rabbit will do the frantic dance until he can bury his head in a woven basket of the stuff and chomp away.

He is a pint-size tyrant who requires the prompt delivery of a papaya tablet every morning and will pee on the floor of his four-story custom condo—nonverbal communication–if you leave the door latched. This is because he has a second home in the bedroom, consisting of a wooden split-level dollhouse with the furniture removed. It makes a nice covered vacation cottage in which to snooze away a few happy hours and he prefers to do this when there is company in the room, although not company that tries to pick him up and cuddle him.

The rabbit is an alpha bunny, although you might not get that at first because he is all over covered in long, silky fluff that makes it difficult to tell the front from the back. Complicating the orientation issue is the fact that he is a mini-lop so his ears hang down, like the fur. And he is very very cute. Everyone who sees him, even the expensive exotic pet vet, gets all ga-ga about how pretty! and how cute! he is. He is. Cuteness is protective coloration for intransigence. He is a small inflexible dictator and we are his groupies and his slaves.

So I can relate to Bunnicula and even find it funny. It is hilarious, actually. Deborah and James Howe wrote a modern fable about a baby cotton-tailed foundling who was abandoned in a Dracula movie, adopted by a family with a literate cat, two boys, and a dog with a jones for cream-filled chocolate cupcakes. Odd things begin happening to the veggies in the fridge late at night when the tiny bunny should be locked in his cage. He isn’t. And, in the morning, all the vegetables in the kitchen have had an attack of albinism. White tomatoes. White zucchini. White lettuce.

The cat, who reads Edgar Allen Poe and The Mark of the Vampire, notes the bunny’s prominent front teeth and figures it out first. But the humans are obtuse and Harold the dog is more interested in bacon and those Hostess cupcakes. Many hare-raising (Oops. Sorry.) escapades disrupt the moonlit nights of the household. Chester the cat cannot communicate his distress and pays dearly for his inventive efforts to save the family. He is bathed–twice—and taken to the vet. The bunny prevails. But, in true bunny fashion, Bunnicula is cute. Really, endearingly cute. So we know how this story ends. Bunnies always win—it’s in their DNA. Let that be a lesson to you.

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery   Deborah and James Howe | Aladdin   1996