Dig Deeper - Q & A with James Howe

                                                  james howe

                                                  james howe

The Scholastic Books website has lots of wonderful information about their published books and authors, including James Howe.  Here are just a few questions for Mr. Howe from his readers and his answers...

Why did you become an author? I became an author because I love words. I enjoyed playing with them when I was a kid, writing stories and plays, and doing whatever I could think to do with words. I kept my love of them growing up and still love to see what they can do.

What inspired you to write the Bunnicula series? Debbie [the late Mrs. Howe] and I loved vampire movies. This was in the 1970s when there were a lot of vampire movies shown on late night TV and we stayed up late many a night. Some of them were a lot sillier than they were scary. I don't remember the moment when the character Bunnicula came into my head. I suspect it came from the asking the question, "What's the silliest, least likely vampire I can imagine?" It was never intended to be a series; it just grew out of the first book. I loved writing about those characters so much, particularly Harold, so I continued the story.

Is there anything that you really hoped people would notice or think about when they read this story? I would hope they laugh a lot. I did have a young reader write to me years ago that what she learned from the book was to accept other people's differences the way that Harold accepted Bunnicula into the home. And I liked that. That's become a theme in much of my work and it's interesting that it might have unintentionally been a theme in my first book.

        Cassandra Proball

        Cassandra Proball

What advice would you give a student that wants to be a writer? Two words: read . . . write. Reading is the best way to learn to write, but the way to get better and better as a writer, is to write, write, write. Write what matters to you, write what makes you laugh, write what makes you cry, write in order to get a reaction from the reader, write because you have to, and write because it is fun for you.

"Bunnicula" Audience Review—Roxy Orcutt

By Roxy Orcutt When I saw Bunnicula up on the marquee at Lyric Arts, I may have let out a little squeal.  The Bunnicula books were one of my favorites when I was a kid, how could they not be?  A not-so-scary vampire bunny that sucked the juice from vegetables rather than the blood from humans was downright delightful.  I was curious as to see how the books would translate to the stage, and Lyric Arts did not disappoint.

The moment Harold the dog opened the show, played wonderfully by Sarah Frazier, I knew this production was going to do the Bunnicula I grew up with justice.  Harold, and his housemate, Chester the cat, played with such perfect feline precision by Brianna Regan, live comfortably with their humans, the Monroes, in suburban bliss.  One night, however, when the Monroe’s come home from seeing a movie and bring back a wayward bunny, Harold and Chester’s lives go from napping on couches and eating table scraps to investigating the unexplained, as only a dog and cat can.

Harold and Chester soon realize this bunny isn’t any ordinary bunny, he’s something downright supernatural.  Through their instincts and a few of Chester’s books, the pair come to the conclusion that Bunnicula lives up to his bloodsucking namesake.

While Harold, Chester, and the Monroes, are all played by a phenomenal cast of humans, (Mr. and Mrs. Monroe, played by Bailey Hess and Jason Stone, are particularly hysterical in their straight-outta-the-vintage-sitcoms Mom and Dad) Bunnicula is brought to life by the use of puppetry.  When Bunnicula goes into vampire mode, his eyes glow red and his fangs come out in full force, but not too scary to illicit nothing more than giggles from the mostly-kids audience.

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One of the best elements of the play was the music and lighting.  We are taken through several days as the play unfolded, all communicated through the great use of light and musical cues.  There is one piece of music used just off-stage to a great foreboding, and humorous, effect that may have been my favorite part of the play.

I was downright charmed by this entire production.  I brought along my four-year-old daughter whose eyes never left the stage and has since told everyone we see about the vampire bunny that turns the vegetables white.  I would recommend this play to all ages.  Like I mentioned, the audience was filled with mostly children, and not a single one of them seemed to lose interest or get antsy during the rapid-fire, entertaining 70 minute production.

Roxy Orcutt
Roxy Orcutt

Roxy Orcutt, The Halloween Honey, is a local author and theater enthusiast. Her book, “History and Hauntings of the Halloween Capital,” explores Anoka, MN, its spooky tales, colorful characters, and why it is named the “Halloween Capital of the World.” It is available for sale online at www.HalloweenHoney.com.

Dig Deeper - Bunnicula Opens Tomorrow!

_DSC0343 Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery opens tomorrow night and we're so excited to once again show off the talents of puppet designer Gabriel Gomez.  There are only 9 performances of this wonderful show, so make sure you get your tickets early!  Also, don't miss our family-friendly tradition of pre-show word games, puzzles, and coloring pages for the first weekend performances on this Saturday, April 25th.  See you at the show!