Published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers on August 1st 2006
Not a great place to visit, and you wouldn't want to live there
The Monroes have gone on vacation, leaving Harold and Chester at Chateau Bow-Wow -- not exactly a four-star hotel. On the animals' very first night there, the silence is pierced by a peculiar wake-up call -- an unearthly howl that makes Chester observe that the place should be called Howliday Inn.
But the mysterious cries in the night (Chester is convinced there are werewolves afoot) are just the beginning of the frightening goings-on. Soon animals start disappearing, and there are whispers of murder. Is checkout time at Chateau Bow-Wow going to come earlier than Harold and Chester anticipated?
When it comes to the Bunnicula books, 2 of my 3 favorites take place at Chateau Bow-Wow, or as Chester calls it, Howliday Inn. There’s something about the boarding house that always appeals to me. Maybe the the cast of characters, more varied than the usual Bunnicula story. Or perhaps the mysteries have a bit more urgency. Whatever it is both stories are in my top 3.
This review is for the first installment in the Chateau Bow-Wow saga. As usual the book begins with the editor’s note, a quaint little tale about how our canine author delivers his manuscript. As always it’s cute and funny and I love how the editor character doesn’t question the fact that the dog has written a book.
Howliday Inn features the usual characters, Harold and Chester, as well as several other dog and cat “inmates” of the boarding house. Taxi the sidekick, Georgette the flirt, Louise the french poodle, Max the bro, Howard and Heather the so called werewolf/dachshund crosses, and Lyle the crazy cat spice up the series which usually focuses on Harold and Chester and later Howie.
I think my favorite non main character is Lyle. I’m a sucker for a cat, particularly ones that are just a bit loony. Lyle is far more than a bit anything. Maybe that’s why I like Chester as well, he’s also a bit nuts.
The Bunnicula books are great mysteries but this one is particularly good. And particularly heart-wrenching. Who would have thought a children’s chapter book could tug at my heart after all these years. The books really do hold up, especially if you read them as a kid.
The audiobook is incredible as usual. Victor Garber is a great narrator and brings me back to the time when I would listen to him read to me as I changed the tapes and flipped them over one by one. I am old enough that I remember listening to them on cassette. My mom remembers listening to them with me, and enjoyed them as much as I did.
I recommend Howliday Inn for any child who is able to read chapter books, or parents who read them to their kids. They don’t talk down to kids, treating them intelligently and respectfully. They are well written enough that adults can enjoy them without being annoyed.
Did you read these books as a kid? Share your thoughts in the comments.
From my shelf to yours,