Guest Post: A Conversation with Mrs. Bunny
Today we have a special guest joining us at Random Acts of Reading! Mrs. Bunny, one half of the sleuthing team who star in Polly Horvath’s delightful story Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire! Bunnies are always smart and in style, so it’s always a good time to share a story about them.
Read on for the inside story on Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, their friends, solving mysteries, knitting, napping and bunnies!
Tell us a little about Mr. and Mrs. Bunny―Detectives Extraordinaire! so readers can have a sense of what they have in store.
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny―Detectives Extraordinaire! (rightly named) is the almost completely true story of the time Mr. and Mrs. Bunny came across a fifth-grade girl named Madeline who was sitting on a hillside with a blanket over her head. Mr. Bunny wanted to give her a poke with a stick, but Mrs. Bunny (with her abundant supply of tact and charm) inveigled the information that Madeline’s parents had been kidnapped. By foxes! Because Mr. and Mrs. Bunny had recently bought fedoras, they were able to detect that sitting on a hillside with a blanket over your head was not the most efficient way to find your parents. Together with Madeline, they went in search of her parents, having many garlic bread, marmot, and hat-infused adventures. It is a thrilling tale. Mrs. Bunny has been asked to go on the college lecture circuit with it, but she has a lot of knitting to do.
What inspired you to become a writer? Did you feel limited by your being a bunny?
Well, I have always been a loquacious rabbit. Many is the time Mr. Bunny has asked me if I couldn’t just please shut up. And so I took pen in paw. Being a writing rabbit has its challenges. Ink is so difficult to get out of fur. But Mrs. Bunny is valiant. It is often an evening I write until my ears droop. Mr. Bunny calls to me to come to bed. You cannot possibly have any more to say, he insists. Perhaps not, I reply, but this has never stopped me.
On a perhaps controversial note, how do you feel about the portrayal of bunnies in human-written children’s books that came before you? Do you feel that bunnies have been accurately rendered?
Well, no, it is true, before Mrs. Bunny came along no one had quite been able to get inside the “bunny mentality,” as we like to call it. But this is a small matter when you consider how rabbits have been portrayed in human cookbooks.
Can you talk about your collaboration with Polly Horvath? How did you come to meet and work with such a renowned author of children’s books? What was your process like?
How did the two of you then manage to bring acclaimed illustrator Sophie Blackall on board?
As I heard the story, Lee Wade and Anne Schwartz, who worked on the human edition, lay at her feet and begged. When that didn’t work, they followed her around and threw donuts at her from behind pillars down in the subway stations. She agreed finally because she said she was tired of being glazed. Also she felt people thought it looked odd. She did not want to be known as the artist with the donut-throwing entourage.
You and Polly seem to share a love for the absurd and the satirical in your writing. What is it that draws you to tell these kinds of stories?
WHO? I cannot speak for anyone else, but my book is a stunningly—some might say grippingly—realistic account. If you don’t think marmots are really like that, might I suggest you spend more time at The Old Spaghetti Factory and less time at Le Cirque. Mr. Bunny says I do not always present an accurate picture of him. He seems to feel if he wrote the books he would appear in a better light. Carp, carp, carp.
Is this story, in fact, drawn from your own life or did you take some creative license when recounting the tale for readers?
Well, I think I’ve already made it clear that I write the truth. Not just the literal truth but also the poetic truth. The truth for rabbits, everywhere. The rabbits that cannot speak for themselves. The small furry hearts in the forest. The little rabbits, the big rabbits, the factory workers and toilers, the grape-picking rabbits, the award nominators, so seldom glorified, whose paws are wilted from filling in ballot forms. . . . Oh, did Mrs. Bunny say that? Scratch that last.
What do you hope that young readers (and adults) take away from Mr. and Mrs. Bunny―Detectives Extraordinaire!?
A keen desire for the sequel. And speaking of which . . .
Do you plan to continue writing? Can readers expect more stories of Mr. Bunny and your adventures? You two certainly lead an exciting life!
Yes. We have an almost frantic nap schedule. Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, when not making carrot cakes, knitting, and napping, like to shop for hats. Well, Mrs. Bunny does. How hats do inspire the bunny to new feats of greatness. And Mrs. Bunny plans to record them all. Mrs. Bunny cannot help writing. It is her calling. It is both her joy and her burden. Someday she hopes it will help her attain her childhood ambition of ruling the universe.
Many Thanks to Mrs. Bunny for joining us here today! We look forward to your next adventure.
Random Acts of Reading will be off next week to celebrate the holidays, make sure you join us on January 2nd for a fun post about our Reading Resolutions for 2013!
Happy Holidays to all!