cover image Operation Bunny

Operation Bunny

Sally Gardner, illus. by David Roberts. Holt, $12.99 (192p) ISBN 978-0-8050-9892-1

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.)