- Education and Science
Bunnicula - A Teacher's Review
Bunnicula Plot Summary, Lesson Plans, Activities, Printables
, James Howe's first book for children, is about a pet rabbit who just might be a vegetarian vampire. Told from the viewpoint of the Monroe family's dog, Harold, this book is great fun for kids and contains enough wry humor to keep parents and teachers chuckling while reading aloud to their children. Chester, the Monroe family's cat, is the first to suspect that Bunnicula is a vampire and, fearing that vegetables will not be the only victims, takes such extreme measures to stop the supposed threat that his sanity comes into question. Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery
I can't help but review Bunnicula through the eyes of an educator. Bunnicula is a great first step into real chapter books for children who are ready to move beyond the I-can-read-style simple chapter books. Unlike dumbed-down, gross-out books like Captain Underpants, the Bunnicula books respect children and are intellectually challenging, yet with a humorous touch. Here are some examples of how James Howe does it:
- He introduces new vocabulary gently. For example, "I had been left home with the admonition to take care of the house until they returned. That's something they always say to me when they go out: 'Take care of the house, Harold. You're the watchdog.'"
- He gently leads children to more complex books and introduces dictionary skills in a natural and child-centered way. Young Toby Monroe, speaking to his dog says, "This is a good book, Harold. It's called Treasure Island, and it's by a man named Robert Louis Stevenson. It's kind of hard reading, though. I have to keep looking the big words up in the dictionary, so it's taking me a long time to get through it.
- He demonstrates the misunderstanding that can happen when homophones are mixed up. "'To destroy the vampire and end his reign of terror, it is necessary to pound a sharp stake . . . ' Chester interrupted. 'A sharp steak? What does that mean?' [. . . ] He dragged the steak across the floor and laid it across the inert bunny. Then with his paws, he began to hit the steak."
"Today vegetables . . . tomorrow the world!"
Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery - The first book in the Bunnicula series
This immensely popular children's story is told from the point of view of a dog named Harold. It all starts when Harold's human family, the Monroes, goes to see the movie Dracula, and young Toby accidentally sits on a baby rabbit wrapped in a bundle on his seat. How could the family help but take the rabbit home and name it Bunnicula? Chester, the literate, sensitive, and keenly observant family cat, soon decides there is something weird about this rabbit. Pointy fangs, the appearance of a cape, black-and-white coloring, nocturnal habits … it sure seemed like he was a vampire bunny. When the family finds a white tomato in the kitchen, sucked dry and colorless, well … Chester becomes distraught and fears for the safety of the family. (from the amazon.com review)
Your turn - Weigh in on Bunnicula.
What did you think of Bunnicula?
Free Bunnicula Lesson Plans and Resources - Ideas to extend your class's reading of Bunnicula
- Bunnicula - A Mini Unit - From easyfunschool.com, this Bunnicula lesson plan includes a brief summary of Bunnicula, some information about the authors, a list of Bunnicula vocabulary words, and some Bunnicula discussion questions and activities.
- Bunnicula hangman game - Just a fun, little online game.
- Bunnicula Student Activity Guide - A pdf from Childsplay Theater contains discussion questions, writing, drawing, and coloring activities, and a homonyms activity, all related to Bunnicula.
- Bunnicula Flash Cards - A set of 13 flashcards to help students remember some details from Bunnicula.
More Bunnicula Resources for Teachers - Homeschool and classroom teachers, check these out
I haven't personally used this book, but I have been pleased with everything I've tried from its publisher, Teacher Created Resources. Here's the product description on amazon.com.
"This resource is directly related to its literature equivalent and filled with a variety of cross-curricular lessons to do before, during, and after reading the book. This reproducible book includes sample plans, author information, vocabulary building ideas, cross-curriculum activities, sectional activities and quizzes, unit tests, and ideas for culminating and extending the novel."
This is a kindle product that I have not personally used. However, for only $3 and change, it's hard to go wrong. Remember that kindle products can be used on PCs, Macs, and just about device. Here's an excerpt from the product description from amazon.com.
Our note booking format allows the student to read the lessons in PDF form and write their answers in a spiral notebook. This saves you money, but you can print out any pages of the lesson you like. . .
Bunnicula Costumes - Just add fangs and a black cape!
As far as I know, there are no commercially available Bunnicula costumes. But that won't stop you from being Bunnicula for Halloween! Add fangs and a black cape to one of these rabbit costumes to turn yourself, or your child (or your pet!) into Bunnicula.
Borrow a Bunnicula Costume
Costume Specialists has been commissioned to provide Bunnicula (and lots of other children's book character costumes) for promotional use at schools, libraries and bookstores. The costume is free to borrow, but you'll have to pay $140 to ship it to the next borrower.
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