Booklist starred (February 15, 2012 (Vol. 108, No. 12))
Grades 3-6. Madeleine’s hippie parents, Mildred and Flo, refuse to understand the fifth grade, preferring the esoteric, spiritual truths of luminarias and shopping at the Salvation Army. Madeleine takes two ferries and two buses to school, escaping the peculiarities of Hornby Island to grasp at something normal. Meanwhile, Mr. and Mrs. Bunny have moved into an abandoned carriage house just down the lane and, to complement their interests in automobiles and millinery, are hanging up a detective shingle. When a cadre of sinister foxes (“Mwa-haha,” they intone, having picked it up watching television) kidnap Mildred and Flo, Madeleine joins up with the Detective Bunnies and, without the help of her comatose code-breaker uncle, prepares to rescue them. Horvath tells Mr. and Mrs. Bunny’s tale with old-fashioned nostalgia, juxtaposing it with Madeleine’s schoolgirl mopes in a sweet and sour froth of nonsense. Blackall’s ink-and-wash illustrations provide a quaint and curious punctuation, contributing a peculiar whimsy all their own. The result feels like an instant classic, with a contemporary resonance and a tone of yesteryear, fairly begging to be read aloud. Oh, and there are marmots.