My 1980’s childhood called and wants its books back. Or at least, it wants to share with you two treasured favorites of mine now in a graphic novel format. Bunnicula and Wait Till Helen Comes are two books I still recommend today. They are “safe” for a younger reader, but still have the edge of a modern reader.
Bunnicula: The Graphic Novel by James Howe, Andrew Donkin, and illustrations by Stephen Gilpin is what you loved as a kid now in a graphic novel format. I wanted to remember how the family found a lone bunny they would name Bunnicula, sure, but I wanted the scene. That scene that was my first pun. Was my first foray into word play. I wanted… the steak/stake scene! And YES! There it was in all its glory.
Now I probably should explain that there is a dog named Harold, a cat named Chester and a rabbit named Bunnicula. The rabbit you see, Chester assumes is a vampire bunny. And since Chester knows about vampires from his ample reading, the way to kill a vampire is a stake. And since Chester does not know about spelling, the family’s dinner of steak was used in the attempt to stop a killer, juice sucking vampire bunny!
Yes, folks, the beloved story that was typed up by Harold the dog, given to a publisher and then published for the world is now here in illustrations, with that same beloved story of friendships and goofiness. And while there are some adaptations (I do not remember a computer in the original novel), what made us love this crazy human family and their furry pets is alive and well.
Wait Till Helen Comes Graphic Novel by Mary Downing Hahn and illustrations by Meredith Laxton was adapted by Scott Peterson and Russ Badgett. Well, I mean, the original novel Wait Till Helen Comes has been adapted into a graphic novel.
In some ways, this book has been updated, but in others it has not. It is still the story we loved as kids, one reviewer on Goodreads said they wanted to grab a scrunchy and their dunkaroos. I was already wearing my scrunchie (the classics never go out of style), and neither does Hahn. While the beginning is slow, and Heather’s actions from the beginning made me almost put the book down (it is one thing to read about a bratty kid, but to see a bratty kid can be tiresome). And granted, a lot of my love is nostalgia, but it is still a good read.
The illustrations are what kept me back in the 1980s. They are nicely done, busy and they show the faces of fear, evil, and joy. They show the gloomy and the sunny. They move the spooky along (the face of Heather can be a bit creepy at times) and incorporate the style perfectly. The immediate might not have aged as well as I would have hoped, but the overall package is worth the read.