Review: Howliday Inn by James Howe (# 2 Bunnicula series)

Continuing on with our special October 2018 treat of reviewing all 7 Bunnicula books for Halloween.  We are on book # 2, Howliday Inn!


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?

Howliday Inn by James Howe.  Book 2 in the Bunnicula series.  Illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.  Originally published in 1982, my version is the Scholastic November 2001 edition.

Alright, I’ll just come out and say this right away… Where the hell is Bunnicula?? This is book 2 in his series and he isn’t even in it!! 😡  BOOO.  This book gets one point taking away just for that!  I’m pretty sure even as a kid I thought this because while I remember book 1 and book 3, I don’t really remember anything about book 2.

Book 2 in the series, Howliday Inn, drops the horror elements altogether and instead went with the straight up mystery approach.  Chester and Harold both took turns at being detectives trying to figure out what happened to the missing pets.  In book 1, Chester makes a lot of wild accusations that were mostly all wrong,  but in this book he seems to be more on top of the game with his detective work (though he does still make a few wild accusations), claiming he knew what was going on the whole time at the end.  Was Chester just saying he knew or did he actually know?  It is kind of left up to the reader to decide.

After Bunnicula was written, Deborah Howe, the co-author, passed away.  I am not sure if that had to do with why Howliday Inn is such a departure from Bunnicula?  It’s not that book 2 is bad, but it just doesn’t feel like it is written by the same person.  Something about it just feels off.  It is hard for me to put my finger on it. :/

The plot was decent.  The bad guy was legit a bad guy this time.  I’m not sure why he didn’t get in to more trouble though.  And, as an avid comic book reader and adult, I was a little bit offended by the the comments and overall vibe about how if you are an adult reading comics you are wasting your life and not adulting properly.  WTF?!  😡  I really hate the whole mentality of something being “only for kids”.  What a load of BS!  Anyways, getting back to the plot… am I the only one who thinks the villain kinda seems like a psychopath?  I was a little surprised (again) by some of the darkness in the Howliday Inn.  It’s a murder mystery… it’s suspected that one of the other animals in the Chateau Bow-Wow has killed the pet that goes missing.  Then when the real bad guy shows up and kidnaps Chester, the bad guy makes a couple of nonchalant comments that kinda sound like he is just going to kill the cat because Chester  is no longer needed.  Not to mention the bad guy has no problem framing someone else for the disappearances and causing that person to emotionally fall apart because they think it is all their fault.  Am I reading too much in to this or is this actually what is going on?? o.O  Because, it seems kinda messed up.

Howliday Inn is illustrated by Lynn Munsinger.   Lynn’s work is cute.  I personally didn’t like it as much because I thought it was a little too cartoony looking (which I’m sure kids probably loved?).   I liked the more realistic style from Bunnicula a little bit better.


Overall, I think this book would have been better as a stand alone with different set of animals instead of tied in to the Bunnicula series.  No vampire bunny is a thumbs down!!! A decent mystery, but Bunnicula better be in book 3…



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