REVIEW: Return to Howliday Inn (Bunnicula #5) by James Howe

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars, Genre: Fiction/Children, Pages: 192, Level: Easy

Book Description from Barnes & Noble:

“The Monroes have gone on vacation, once again leaving Harold, Chester, and Howie at Chateau Bow-Wow, which Chester aptly dubbed “Howliday Inn” during their last stay there. The motley crew of boarders may have changed, but not the creepy goings-on at Howliday Inn. A ghostly voice, buried bones, and a collar with the name “Rosebud” on it suggest that murder may have been added to the services offered at the kennel. A pair of yuppie puppies from posh Upper Centerville, two cat burglars (sisters-in-crime) named Felony and Miss Demeanor, a melancholy Great Dane named Hamlet, and a weasel named, well, The Weasel, join the Monroe pets in getting to the bottom of the mysterious happenings. But will they be able to escape the same fate that may have befallen Rosebud?

In this sequel to “Howliday Inn,” the Monroe family pets are again boarded at Chateau Bow-Wow, where some spooky goings-on serve as a distraction from the kennel’s poor food.”

The fourth book in the series takes Harold, Chester and Howie back to Chateau Bow-Wow, or as Chester dubbed it, Howliday Inn. While Howie is excited to return to his place of birth, Chester is again filled with doom and gloom from the beginning, and his feelings are validated when bones and a collar with the name Rosebud are dug up and the bones begin to speak. Rosebud confirms that something sinister is happening at Howliday Inn and the pets team up to investigate.

As with his other books, Howe fills Return to Howliday Inn with humor:

“Or,” Chester went on, if I may use the expression with regard to a cat, doggedly, “haven’t you ever felt that something was about to happen, you just knew it in your bones, and then, bam! it happened?”

A chill ran down my spine. “Chester!” I cried. “I had a paranormal experience just the other night.”

Chester’s eyes lit up. “Really? Tell me about it Harold.”

“Well, it was after dinner and I was lying over there by the sofa, where Howie’s sleeping now… I was yawning and I felt my eyes growing heavy…”

“Yes? Go on.”

“And I had this overpowering feeling that I was about to…”

“What, Harold? Oh, this is really exciting. Go ahead.”

“That I was about to fall asleep. And I did.”

And of course, Howie continues with the puns and plays on words. When speaking of the bad food at Howliday Inn, he comments, “Gee,” said Howie, “it sounds like gruel and unusual punishment.”

Then there are the jokes, this one directed at Chester (the cat):

“What do you call a fancy dance for rabbits?”

“I give up, Howie. What do you call a fancy dance for rabbits?”

“A hare ball.”

I could go on and on here. I highlighted a bunch of spots this time and there are too many to include in this review.

And as always, there are so many wonderful opportunities for discussion. For example, I had to explain to my daughter why it was funny that the two bad cats’ names were Miss Demeanor and Felony, what it means when you call a veterinarian a quack, the significance of A Tale of Two Kitties and what is amusing about beginning previously mentioned book with “The best of crimes, the worse of crimes…”

As with the others in the series, I highly recommend Return to Howliday Inn.

Reviewed by Christina

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