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Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner

This is the first in a series of books that sets the stage for a fairy detective agency. 

Emily Vole is discovered as a baby in a hatbox, which was previously believed to contain an explosive device. As luck would have it, she began crying and thankfully was saved before the bomb disposal team got to work on the hatbox. 

When she is adopted by Daisy and Ronald Dashwood, you'd think things would now turn around and everything would be just hunky dory for her. 

But alas, five years later Daisy Dashwood had to admit that Emily Vole wasn't exactly what she had in mind when she'd made her one and only wish. 

"What she really wanted was a baby girl with blue eyes and blond hair, ideally the same color as her own strawberry-blond extensions." 

Daisy felt the child just didn't fit in with the Dashwoods' ancestral color scheme. And, when she discovered she was pregnant with triplets, Daisy felt now that she definitely didn't need Emily anymore. 

With the plans to send her back to the orphanage were dashed by her hedge-fund husband, the couple decides to "home-school" her and make her their maid and the triplets' babysitter. 

With a life filled with diapers, laundry and ironing, somehow Emily finds solace with a friendship with the next door neighbour Miss String and her talking cat Fidget. This friendship blooms in secret because the Dashwoods can't stand Miss String, calling her an old bat. 

Next begins a charming adventure that will set the path towards Emily inheriting an abandoned shop, and chasing a fairy-snatching witch. 

Operation Bunny is ideal for children aged 6 to 9. It's just long enough for the kids to feel like they are reading an adult novel, and innocent enough that it will satisfy their childlike curiosity of a world of fairies, talking cats, wicked witches and even bunnies. 

It's a Cinderella tale for "older" kids. The Dashwoods remind me of the Thénadier's in Les Misérables, and there's a bit of Eponine in Emily (apart from the thievery and wretchedness). We're constantly routing for Emily to be rescued and dashed away to a beautiful world far away from the Dashwoods. 

Operation Bunny by Sally Gardner, is published by Henry Holt and Company and distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books
3 out of 5 Sukasa Stars

Review by @ShilpaRaikar for @SukasaReads (a division of @SukasaStyle)