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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Lord and Lady Bunny - Almost Royalty, written by Mr. and Mrs. Bunny. Translated from the Rabbit by Polly Horvath and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Groundwood Books, 2014. $14.95 ages 9 and up

"It's synchronicity," said Madeline. "You see, Flo found some Pop-Tarts that he thought were mystical and he decided to become the Dalai Lama of sugar and then we wanted to take a trip and he found out we could go free if his band played on board and he said it was synchronicity, that everything lined up in the stars so that the universe could attain its ultimate good."

Oh, Polly Horvath! How you entertain us with your deliciously funny look at the world! Mr. and Mrs. Bunny are back, thankfully. So are Madeline and her parents. Those who loved their first adventure tale are sure to be enamored of this is crafted with a careful and delicate hand.

Madeline has met a new friend Katherine, who explains that she has a college fund. It becomes Madeline's mission to begin one of her own. Mrs. Bunny has decided that she wants a shot at being queen. The fact that the two meet (once again) aboard an ocean liner on its way to England can only be termed  additional 'synchronicity'.

Madeline's parents have inherited a sweet shoppe in England. They see it as their ticket to making enough money to fund the purchase of land back home on Hornby Island, where they will plant an organic garden and sell produce. Perhaps Madeline will have a college fund, after all.

Of course, this well crafted novel has no straight lines; rather, it is a series of mishaps and meetings that will entertain and delight readers who may have met these wonderful characters in their first escapade, and will recognize their foibles. Katherine is accompanying Madeline and her family. Mr. Bunny and Mrs. Treaclebunny (who has invited herself along) join Mrs. Bunny.

Ms. Horvath is her satirical self in her newest novel. There are so many characters who invite a close look, and a quiet snicker.The translator of the first Mr. and Mrs. Bunny book herself, and another novelist (known as Oldwhatshername and perhaps fashioned after J.K. Rowling), find themselves seated side by side at a book signing. Mrs. Bunny takes offense that she has not been invited to sign the books, or recognized as the author of either book (in fact, the book store owner is quite sure that the translator is simply making up a good story when she says that a bunny actually did write the book). Add to that the fact that she shops at Bunnycostycost and buys Frosted Flakes for the box tops needed to get a swell prize:

"She didn’t even check first to see if Mr. Bunny liked Frosted Flakes." "Oh well, it made excellent mulch," said Mrs. Bunny faintly. "The roses liked it, even if you did not."

I would love to go on and on with additional bits from the book, but I will restrain myself from doing so in order to allow you to enjoy every moment yourself. Please indulge me for one more minute:

"Mrs. Vandermeer’s soccer-mom friends knew that if they didn’t drive their children to some form of entertainment or find some way to keep them occupied every second from school closing until bedtime, the children would resort to staring at the walls until their heads exploded. Suburban homes were very neat, and no one wanted to be picking brain bits off the walls.”

The ironic humor and familiarity of the characters in this second novel ensure that the adults who read it to their children will love and laugh their way through it, right along with those listeners. I  happily await the next adventure; but, please don't make me wait too long. I get older every single day!

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