Be afraid of the horned bunny.
Homicidal rabbits are an important part of Western culture. Think of the killer bunny from Monty Python or the vampire rabbit in Bunnicula. Jack is not, technically speaking, a rabbit. The antlers growing out of his head suggest he’s a jackalope. Professor Twitchett is too sensible to believe in mythical creatures, so he just calls Jack “one of my experiments.” And his experiment is ruining Jeremy’s life. The professor has disappeared, and now Jeremy—who hasn’t even finished junior high—is on the run from the men in black, with an “animal hybrid” in his backpack. It might sound like a screwball comedy, and there are several funny bits of slapstick (flying pans, a vomiting giraffe). But, surprisingly, Jack is offstage for most of the novel, which seems like a waste of a perfectly good jackalope. Still, the conspiracy elements make this book a very satisfying thriller (although alert readers will have figured out the villains’ identities long before the end of the book). Jack does sing a hilarious chorus of “Happy Trails.” And when he finally gives in to his violent tendencies, he establishes himself as a worthy member of the comic tradition.
Jack may not make it into the pantheon of great killer rabbits, but many readers will still be eager for a sequel. (Caper comedy. 8-12)