Lord and Lady Bunny: Almost Royalty by Polly Horvath was a book that I discovered for my little granddaughter who will be traveling to the U.K. with her parents over her school spring break. When I saw the cover picture with two bunnies draped in the flag of Great Britain, I knew immediately what Easter present I would send.
The story opens with a girl named Madeline who lives with her hippie parents, Mildred and "Flo," on on Island in British Columbia, Canada. They have decided to make summer travel plans but they only have a savings of six dollars and twenty-seven cents. Madeline who is the responsible one in the family, has two hundred seventeen dollars saved for her college fund and they want to use that. But then they get notice that they have inherited a money making candy store in the village of Bellyflop, England and decide to relocate and rent out their residence and land to summer campers for even more profit. They also get what is supposed to be a fabulous all expense cruise passage to England and suddenly whisk Madeline's best friend Katherine along as well.
Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who are friends with Madeline have also decided to splurge on a first class cruise to London, on the animal deck of the same ship. Mrs. Bunny wants to go there because she wants to become the Queen. And there begins a huge comedy of fiascoes and also a mystery in the village where they arrive.
This is a in intermediate fiction book that can be enjoyed on one level for children but on so many others for adults who share it with children. The list of satire is endless: teachers spoiling love of reading by analyzing books, hippies, cruise ship come-ons and disappointments, and social climbing and odd idioms in the U.K. "Cor, "blimey," "for donkey's years," "toodle-oo,"and "across the pond" are but a few and could be a whole Englsih lesson just in finding them and translating.
For other books about human animal interaction there are Horvath's first mystery Mr. and Mrs. Bunny-- Detectives Extraordinaire!, the recent Newbery winner Flora and Ulysses, by Kate DiMillo, The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary, The Tale of Despereaux also by Kate DiMillo and the classic Dr. Dolittle stories.