Based on the cover I picked this up as an audiobook last week. I was a little hesitant because while I like Polly Horvath’s quirky, occasionally dark, stories they’re not really appropriate for a 7 year old. Sure enough, after listening for a while I thought, “hmmm, not for the kids, but I can’t wait to find out what happens.” So I got the book. [Also, I would have gone mental listening to the audiobook--Madeline's parents are hippies and Horvath narrates them in a maddeningly slow voice.]
This is a kooky fantastical blend of human world and animal world. Madeline lives on an island with her hippie parents, but she herself likes going to a traditional school off island and wants to fit in. Including receiving a school award at her graduation and receiving it from Prince Charles himself, while wearing the required white shoes. Her parents are horrified. One day Madeline comes home to find her parents kidnapped and a mysterious note left behind. Turns out some dastardly foxes have kidnapped them, all with the hopes of finding Madeline’s uncle, a renowned decoder.
Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs Bunny are a funny little flighty couple with short attention spans who decide they’d like to go into the detective business. When Madeline meets them everyone is startled to discover that Madeline can understand them. She’s pretty startled to discover animals wearing clothes and the like, too!
It’s all very weird and funny and charming and I definitely liked it. I think my favorite bit might have been the part with Prince Charles at the very very end.