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Bunnicula - A Teacher's Review

Updated on August 30, 2017

Bunnicula Plot Summary, Lesson Plans, Activities, Printables

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery, 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.

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."
Most children and many adults, especially animal lovers and campy vampire fans, will enjoy Bunnicula and the books that follow it in the series. Give it a read!

"Today vegetables . . . tomorrow the world!"

Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery - The first book in the Bunnicula series

Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery
Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery

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

A Guide for Using Bunnicula in the Classroom (Literature Units)
A Guide for Using Bunnicula in the Classroom (Literature Units)

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."

 
Study Guide For Bunnicula: A Novel Literature Unit Study and Lapbook
Study Guide For Bunnicula: A Novel Literature Unit Study and Lapbook

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

Bunnicula Costume
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.

Or if you'd just like to share what you thought of this page, this is the place!

Got a Bunnicula memory to share? - Maybe a favorite quote from the book

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    • VspaBotanicals profile image

      VspaBotanicals 5 years ago

      Very cute. Great lens.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Came back to bless Bunnicula.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      quite funny and interesting lens

    • mihgasper profile image

      Miha Gasper 5 years ago from Ljubljana, Slovenia, EU

      Beware of the rabbits! Hide your vegetables!

      ;)

    • Inkhand profile image

      Inkhand 6 years ago

      Fun lens. If Count Dracula had a pet it would most likely be Bunnicula, but I think Bram Stoker would beg to differ.

    • Stacy Birch profile image

      Stacy Birch 6 years ago

      Nice lens and quiz, I have a few Bunnicula questions in my vampire quiz. Good work on this.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Great read. I think it sounds awesome.

    • jodijoyous profile image

      jodijoyous 6 years ago from New York

      It does sound fun, and a good way to introduce new words in a gentle way.

    • UKGhostwriter profile image

      UKGhostwriter 6 years ago

      sounds like great fun

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      Must get this book for my grandkids - thanks for adding this as a new lens to the voting plexo of award winners at Purple Star Pastiche.

    • BrickHouseFabrics profile image

      BrickHouseFabrics 7 years ago

      He's new to me!

    • retta719 profile image

      Loretta 7 years ago from United States

      love Bunnicula! One of my favorite books as a kid.

    • profile image

      wadestar 7 years ago

      oh this looks hilarious thanks for this great lens.

    • profile image

      kimmanleyort 7 years ago

      Blessing this lens for its excellent use of the SquidLit template. I like how you have positioned it from a teacher's point of view and pointed to lesson plans.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I think I should definitely read this book - haven't hears of until I got to read this lens.

    • naturegirl7s profile image

      Yvonne L. B. 7 years ago from Covington, LA

      Bunnicula is a book that can be enjoyed year round. Great review.

    • rwoman profile image

      rwoman 7 years ago

      Great lens! Love it

    • andaluana lm profile image

      andaluana lm 7 years ago

      I'm glad I found this lens :) If there's a rabbit involved I will definitely read it.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Sorry but this is the first time I have heard of Bunnicula. Can't believe I missed this one. Congrats on your purple star.

    • capriliz lm profile image

      capriliz lm 7 years ago

      Congratulations on your purple star. Well deserved. Bunnicula is a great book for children.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 7 years ago from U.S.

      I like how you pointed out aspects of Bunnicula through the eyes of an educator. I didn't realize that there were so many Bunnicula books -- I just remember "Bunnicula" and "The Celery Stalks at MIdnight".