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Reviewed by:
Gardner, Sally. Operation Bunny: Wings & Co.: The Fairy Detective Agency’s First Case; illus. by David Roberts. Holt, 2014. [192p]. ISBN 978-0-8050-9892-1 $12.99 Reviewed from galleys Ad Gr. 4-6.

Orphaned as a baby and adopted by the shallow Ronald and Daisy Dashwood, young Emily Vole hasn’t had much luck in her life; when Daisy Dashwood gives birth to triplets, Emily’s position as “daughter” abruptly changes to “unpaid domestic servant.” At the age of nine, though, Emily gets a break when she befriends the kind and unusual old lady next door, Miss String, and her human-sized talking cat, Fidget. From Miss String and Fidget, Emily learns about a magical detective shop and also discovers that, despite her lack of magical abilities, she is the next Keeper of the Keys, a set of animated, sprite-like keys that once belonged to a powerful magician. When the evil witch Harpella strikes with her magic lamp, killing Miss String and turning the Dashwood triplets into mindless zombies and dozens of people into colorful bunnies, Emily manages to save the day with the help the keys, Fidget, and a crabby wingless fairy. The writing in this British import is so focused on being arch that it’s tough for the story to get any real momentum, and the lack of tonal differentiation means it’s a challenge to keep everything straight (explanations of the parameters and roles of the fairies are particularly incomplete). Nonetheless, the characterizations are entertaining (especially Fidget), the satirical edge of the writing can be amusing, and the Cinderella/Harry Potter rags-to-witches plot has appeal. The plentiful black and white art has a quirky edge, reminiscent of Sophie Blackall, in its detailed linework that suits the fantastical tone of the story. Though billed as both fantasy and mystery, this title (the first in a series) is heavier on the fantasy than the mystery, and fans of Roald Dahl or the Clover Twig series may find some new favorite characters here.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1558-6766
Print ISSN
0008-9036
Pages
p. 357
Launched on MUSE
2014-02-25
Open Access
No
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