cover image Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire!

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire!

Polly Horvath, illus. by Sophie Blackall. Random/Schwartz & Wade, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-375-86755-2

Eccentrics of multiple species converge in an adventure from Horvath (Northward to the Moon) in which the boundaries between the human and animal worlds become alternately fluid and impenetrable. On Hornby Island, off Vancouver, foxes drive cars, bunnies attend hat clubs and disciplinary councils, and marmots gorge on garlic bread. Fifth-grader Madeline oversees her household’s cooking, cleaning and wage-earning duties, while her hippie parents pursue enlightenment and unsuccessfully discourage her from attending school. When the Grand Poobah of foxes kidnaps her parents, Madeline enlists a pair of neophyte bunny detectives to track them down. Blackall’s (Edwin Speaks Up) b&w illustrations convey the incongruous hilarity of various plot developments: Mr. Bunny’s disco platform shoes are scene-stealers (and also help him drive); later Madeline leads a charge of bunnies wearing hound masks. Energetic pacing, witty prose, and snappy dialogue (“Why don’t you come to our hutch for lunch, dear?” Mrs. Bunny says to Madeline. “It’s just over those thirty-seven hills”) coalesce in what is hopefully the first of many escapades for these unforgettable, bumbling would-be sleuths. Ages 8–12. Agent: Writers House. Illustrator’s agent: Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Feb.)