Cover image for Operation Bunny
Title:
Operation Bunny
ISBN:
9780805098921

9781250050533
Edition:
First American Edition.
Physical Description:
176 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm.
General Note:
Originally published: Great Britain : Orion Children's Books, 2012.
Reading Level:
700 L Lexile
Added Author:
Summary:
"When Emily Vole inherits an abandoned shop, it is up to her to battle a fairy-snatching witch and get to the bottom of Operation Bunny"--Page 4 of cover.
Holds:

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

When Emily Vole inherits an abandoned shop, she discovers a magical world she never knew existed. And a fairy-hating witch, a mischievous set of golden keys, and a train full of brightly colored bunnies are just a few of the surprises that come with it.

With the help of a talking cat called Fidget and a grumpy fairy detective called Buster, it is up to Emily to save the fairies and get to the bottom of Operation Bunny.


Author Notes

Sally Gardner is an award-winning novelist from London. Her books have been translated into 22 languages and she has sold over 2 million copies in the UK. Called an "idiosyncratic genius" by The Sunday Times , Sally is the author of the acclaimed Magical Children series as well as many novels for teens, including The Double Shadow , Maggot Moon , and I, Coriander .

David Roberts is a bestselling British artist who has illustrated many beautiful books for children. He holds a degree in fashion design from Manchester Metropolitan University, and worked various jobs before becoming a children's book illustrator.


Reviews 6

Publisher's Weekly Review

Gardner and Roberts are a wickedly fun pairing in this first book in the Wings & Co. series, originally published in the U.K. in 2012. Emily Vole, now age nine, was adopted as a baby by Daisy and Ronald Dashwood; their decision was motivated more by greed than altruism, and after Daisy becomes pregnant with triplets, the Dashwoods demote Emily to servant status. Luckily, kindly neighbor Miss String and her large talking cat, Fidget, are there to educate Emily and introduce her to an exciting and dangerous world of magic. As a witch named Harpella closes in, turning the citizenry into rabbits, Emily embraces newfound abilities and gains unlikely allies. Watching Emily grow from Cinderella-style servant to determined detective-in-training is delightful, and Fidget is always good for a one-liner (of a train conductor-turned-rabbit: "And most probably he has a wife and two carrots at home"). Roberts easily keeps pace with Gardner's arch humor-with troll-like hair, beak nose, skeletal hands, and stiletto heels, Harpella indeed looks, as Emily observes, "as though she had escaped from a horror film." Ages 7-10. Author's agent: Catherine Clarke, Felicity Bryan Associates. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Abandoned in a hatbox at Stansted Airport, infant Emily Vole is impulsively adopted by Daisy and Ronald Dashwood, deliciously nasty literary cousins to Roald Dahl's Wormwoods. After the birth of their own triplets, the Dashwoods demote Emily to Cinderella status, forcing her to work as their nanny and housekeeper and to sleep on the ironing board in the laundry room. Fortunately, when Emily is nearly nine, an elderly neighbor, Miss String, and her large talking cat, Fidget, change everything. Soon the stalwart Emily is neck-deep in magical doings -- figuring out her new role as the Keeper of the Keys (a lively sentient bunch), tracking down a mysterious shop she has inherited, and thwarting a witch who turns people into unlikely-hued rabbits. And speaking of transformed rabbits, Roberts captures perfectly their nose-twitching confusion as well as Emily's wide-eyed awe and more in a profusion of black-and-white full-page and spot-art illustrations. While reaching a satisfying conclusion, this first brisk, entertaining series entry leaves enough dangling threads to make readers eager for the next. monica edinger (c) Copyright 2014. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

The Dashwoods think they're getting a cutie-pie baby when they adopt Emily Vole, an infant found abandoned in a ticking box in the airport, but once they have three doe-eyed cutiekins of their own, poor Emily becomes their housekeeper, living in the laundry room and sleeping on an ironing board. Luckily, the old bat next door, Miss String, takes Emily under her wing, and the girl learns about history, math, German, and . . . magic. Soon Emily and Fidget, Miss String's human-sized talking cat, embark on an adventure and undertake to solve the sudden transformation of a bevy of train passengers into fluffy pink bunnies. Discovering fairies, witches, and a secret magical shop along the way, Emily becomes an ace detective specializing in magical crimes. Roberts' stylized cartoony illustrations mostly of cute bunnies scatter over almost every page, adding a delightful touch to the madcap caper. Emily is a no-nonsense, brave girl detective, and young readers looking for silly magical adventures will find much to love. Want more? You're in luck: this is the first title in the Wings & Co. series.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2010 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

EMILY VOLE, the heroine of "Operation Bunny," the first book in Sally Gardner's "Wings & Co." series, has had, by the age of 9, the kind of transformative experiences that are possible only in fairy tales. Found in a hatbox in Stansted Airport (the modern-day equivalent of being lifted from bulrushes), Emily is adopted by Daisy and Ronald Dashwood. Dark-eyed and solemn while the Dashwoods are blond and shrill, she is found wanting. "There was no getting away from it. The child just didn't fit in with the Dashwoods' ancestral color scheme." Five years later, Daisy Dashwood falls pregnant, and Emily is no longer needed. The dialogue is as sharp as it is in all of Gardner's work ("Maggot Moon," "I, Coriander"). "Could we send her back to the orphanage? I have the receipt for her somewhere," Daisy asks. "Not really, Smoochikins," Ronald replies. "It wasn't a receipt - it was the adoption papers." So like Cinderella, Harry Potter and Ben in Eva Ibbotson's "The Secret of Platform 13" (which the setup closely resembles), Emily is made to earn her keep. The Dashwoods are suburban millionaires, presumably because it is both delicious and permissible to hate the rich: permissible in that the wealthy, in children's fiction, tend to be impervious to sorrow or self-doubt. Children's fiction, even more than adults', is obsessed with economics - perhaps because it hopes to arm children against the clarion call of advertising and the world's salesmanship; perhaps, also, because most children's authors are underpaid. "Operation Bunny," like the best fairy tales, also provides adults for children to hate safely. The Dashwoods are endlessly hateable: arrogant and self-congratulatory, blind to beauty, ignorant of fairy tales. Fortunately, "Emily was brighter than a queen's pearly button, brighter by far than her two adoptive parents," and in Gardner's work wit and spirit do not go unrewarded. The next-door neighbor - Miss String, an elderly fairy with a muscular talking cat - recognizes her intelligence and teaches her to read, to count, to speak French and German and Old English. The book is, in this sense, an archetypal orphan story. Orphans, unanchored by parents, offer unfilled vacancies; they exert a gravitational pull on the world and attract the protective, the loving and the unscrupulous. They galvanize the otherwise placid. It is this that makes them so richly comforting a device. If someone will care for lost children without the mandate of blood, there can be security in a bewildering world. The world of "Wings & Co." is more bewildering than most, and the safety sought is urgently needed. There are, of course, obstacles to be overcome. Miss String dies, leaving Emily a magical shop, a set of keys and an ancient menace: a harpy ("half bird, all witch") who is seeking the keys. Harpella, with her "neon orange platform shoes," designer clothing and pink hair with purple streaks, looks predatory and frightening in David Roberts's illustrations. The harpy's weapon, though, seems surprisingly tame: She can kill fairies, but can only turn humans into zombies and brightly-colored talking rabbits. The book has all the ingredients of a fairy tale - a bequeathed fortune, a wicked foster mother, ugly sisters (in this case, triplet toddlers), enchanted keys. The bunnies are a departure. There is a reason bunnies are not a part of the fairytale tradition - they produce no goose bumps - but, under Roberts's hand, they become perplexed and pitiable, with sad pudding-bowl haircuts and anxious mustaches. Roberts has a line and style reminiscent of Edward Gorey, and although his superb illustrations do not always match the text (the magical shop has four legs in the narrative, eight in the picture), they make the story a wilder and larger enterprise. As the first of a series of detective mysteries, "Operation Bunny" has to establish a background for the rest of the books, and it suffers from some of the expository talkativeness required for foundation-building. But readers of Sally Gardner expect wit, pace and heart, and will not be disappointed. The plot is loopy and the conflict never pretends to realism, but the satisfactions and pleasures are very real. KATHERINE RUNDELL is a fellow in literature at All Souls College, Oxford. She is the author of the middle-grade novels "Rooftoppers" and "Cartwheeling in Thunderstorms," to be published in August.


School Library Journal Review

Gr 2-4-Emily Vole, abandoned by her birth parents, is taken in by a horrid pair of yuppies who aren't able to have children. Or so they think, until triplets come along. Once the shallow Dashwoods have children of their own, they treat Emily like a servant. She finds refuge by visiting Miss String, an eccentric neighbor who has more than a few secrets up her sleeve, including a bipedal talking cat. Fidget's existence is Emily's first hint that magic is real. Sure enough, she discovers that she, too, has special powers-a revelation that kicks off a whirlwind journey through the strife-ridden underbelly of London. Emily and her cohorts must keep certain objects out of the hands of the villainous witch Harpella, who wants to use them to steal souls and obliterate fairies. Though this book purports to be the first case of the Wings and Co. Detective agency, it's not really a mystery. Readers know who the villain is all along. The adventure is in seeing how Emily defeats her. But following Emily's journey is somewhat of a challenge. Children will have to read the novel closely in order to pick up on characters' motivations and to keep track of past events that caused the current state of affairs. Even so, it should appeal to readers who enjoy whimsy without a lot of stressful conflict. Highlights are the charming Briticisms as well as the merry, slightly off-kilter black-and-white illustrations-especially the depiction of Harpella, who resembles a pointier, more deranged version of Lady Gaga.-Amy Holland, Irondequoit Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Emily, an unloved orphan, finds a new family and occupation when she discovers her true calling. Emily Vole might only be 9, but she has lived quite a life. After being abandoned in a hatbox, she is adopted by the Dashwoods, a hedge fund manager and his social-climber wife. After the Dashwoods have triplets of their own, they force Emily into servitude. When she is rescued from her Cinderella life by her neighbor, Miss String, and a man-sized talking cat named Fidget, Emily's life changes: She discovers that she is the new Keeper of the Keys. References to fairy tales add depth to the story and make a clever backdrop to this series kickoff, in which a Circe-like witch turns people into animals and lures fairies to their doom in a magical lamp. Roberts' detailed, humorous black-and-white illustrations are a big step up from the normal chapter-book fare; the train station where Emily is discovered is dramatically drawn with crosshatched lines and a beam of light highlighting the hatbox, while later illustrations show Emily, with her wide, sad eyes, in the full squalor of her life with the Dashwoods. Now that Emily and her buddies have set up their new store and detective agency, readers looking for chapter books on the long side will look forward to more magical cases. (Fantasy. 7-12)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Chapter One D aisy Dashwood and Ronald Dashwood had everything a young couple could dream of: a house in the suburbs, with box hedges shaped like squirrels, two cars in the drive with customized license plates--HER1 and HIS2--a tennis court, a small swimming pool, a gym. They even owned a villa near Malaga in Spain. But the one thing they didn't have, the one thing neither money nor nature had been able to give them, was a baby. Their next-door neighbor, Miss String, had suggested kindly that perhaps Daisy should make a wish. "A wish," said Daisy Dashwood. "The cheek of the nosy old bat. As if you get anything by wishing." "Quite right, Smoochikins," replied her husband. "Best to believe in facts and figures, not in airy-fairy wishes and daft stuff like that." Ronald knew about such things. He had made his money as a hedge fund manager--whatever a hedge fund manager was. Daisy couldn't agree more. She trusted in her credit cards: silver, gold, and platinum. Miss String's house was a real eyesore. At least, that's what Daisy called it. It had crooked turrets and large windows and a charm that the Dashwoods' house would never possess in a thousand years. Miss String's ancestors had once owned all the surrounding countryside. Bit by bit, the huge estate had been nibbled away by debt until finally Miss String had been forced to sell the remaining land, leaving her with only the house and garden. Now Miss String's house sat in the middle of three bossy buildings, every one of her wealthy neighbors wanting a slice more of her large garden for themselves. It was Ronald Dashwood who had made what he considered to be a wildly generous offer for nearly all of the garden. This would have left Miss String a small patio at the back and a footpath at the front so that she could get into her house. "The cheek of the old bat," said Daisy Dashwood when Ronald's offer was turned down. "What does she need so much garden for? And the vegetable plot? Oh, my days, hasn't the woman heard of home deliveries? The next thing she'll be telling us is that she doesn't own a computer, or even a TV." On both counts Daisy Dashwood was correct. The modern world had somehow passed by Miss String and Fidget, her cat. The closest it had ever come to knocking on her front door was the dreadful collection of "executive" homes that had sprung up around her. Whatever "executive" meant. One summer morning, the Dashwoods were eating breakfast when Daisy spotted a headline in the newspaper. BABY THOUGHT TO BE A BOMB. "Listen to this, Ronald." "What, Smoochikins?" "It says, Yesterday, Stansted Airport was closed from ten o'clock in the morning until four in the afternoon, causing "--Daisy paused-- "pan-de-mon-ium. A hatbox believed to contain an explosive device had been left in the main concourse of the terminal. Andrew Vole, 46, head of the bomb disposal team, said ticking could be heard coming from inside. "'It was a very good thing,' he added, 'that the baby started crying before we did our controlled explosion.' " When the lid was removed, a baby girl, less than three months old, was found lying in blue tissue paper. Beside her was a trick clock with a cuckoo that squirted water. " The police are now searching for the owner of the hatbox, whom they suspect to be the mother of the infant. They said they had nothing to go on other than the name printed on the hatbox, Emily's Millinery. " For the time being, the baby is being cared for at Cherryfield Orphanage. A nurse has named her Emily after the hatbox and Vole after the bomb disposal officer. " Daisy paused, then said, "Ronald," in a voice that sounded like a cross between a whine and a peacock scream. It was the special voice she used when she wanted something expensive or difficult to get. "I am all ears," said Ronald, and he was. He had a shocking pair of sticking-out red ears. In fact, they were the first thing you noticed about him. "What I wish--" said Daisy. "What I know," interrupted Ronald, "is that you never wish, Smoochikins." "Well, I'm going to make an exception, just this once." "All right," said Ronald. "What is it you wish for?" "I wish that baby was mine." Ronald smiled lovingly at his credit-card-munching wife and said, "Whatever little Smoochikins wants, she shall have." And in less time than it took to grow mint, the Dashwoods had adopted Emily Vole. As Fidget the cat said to Miss String on hearing the news, a wish can be a dangerous thing. "I agree," sighed Miss String as they sat in their enchanting garden one afternoon while the kettle was busy making the tea. "Perhaps I shouldn't have said anything." "Always best," agreed Fidget. "Humans, in my considered opinion, don't think things through, especially when it comes to wishes." Which was quite right. Daisy Dashwood never thought at all if she could help it. She had just made a wish. Why, isn't that what everyone does? Make a wish--it's easy-peasy. Text copyright © 2012 by Sally Gardner Illustrations copyright © 2012 by David Roberts Excerpted from Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.