Authors: Tamsyn Murray
First published in Great Britain in 2011 by Simon and Schuster UK Ltd, a CBS company.
Text copyright © 2011 Tamsyn Murray
Cover and interior illustrations copyright © 2011 Lee Wildish
This book is copyright under the Berne Convention.
No reproduction without permission.
All rights reserved.
The right of Tamsyn Murray and Lee Wildish to be identified as the author and illustrator of this work respectively has been asserted by them in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act, 1988.
Simon & Schuster UK Ltd
1st Floor, 222 Gray’s Inn Road, London WC1X 8HB
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual people living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.
eBook ISBN: 978-1-84738-829-2
Printed and bound in Great Britain.
For Lily Slater, the naughtiest puppy ever.
Please stop eating the sofa.
It’s not easy being Britain’s best-loved bunny. If I’m not meeting my adoring fans or rehearsing my latest dare-devil stunt, then I’m being the darling of Saturday night TV on
, the show where animals are the stars. Some people think my life is all chomping on carrots and waggling my powder-puff tail, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Trust me, being
cute is hard work.
Not that I get any special treatment for being bigger than Bugs Bunny. My owner, Susie, understands what a celebrity pet needs. She’s pretty clever for an eight year old and is always ready with a perfectly prepared popcorn stick, but the rest of the Wilson family are a bit clueless. Mrs Wilson does her best, but Susie’s little sister, Lily, once tried to marry me to the family cat, Smudge. And don’t even talk to me about Susie’s dad, the man who makes Captain Hook look friendly. I don’t know why he’s got it in for me. Maybe he’s secretly jealous because no-one wears T-shirts with
Anyway, it’s thanks to him that my hutch is practically falling down around my ears and all because he’s too mean to buy a new one.
I call him EE, which stands for Evil Edward, and the name suits him perfectly. I mean, everyone knows a celeb should live in a posh pad with a diamond encrusted water bottle and fresh hay cut by their own butler, right? ‘I don’t know what all the fuss is about,’ he said when Susie pointed out the flaking paintwork and rusty bars on my tatty old door. ‘Where’s my screwdriver? I’ll have it fixed in no time.’
I didn’t like the sound of that. EE might think he was a Do-It-Yourself whizz, but anything he tried to fix ended up being Destroy-It-Yourself. There was no way I was letting him loose on my hutch. Luckily, it seemed Susie felt the same way. ‘The vet says Harriet has grown. She needs a bigger house.’
‘Nonsense,’ EE replied, slapping his hand on the top of the hutch and making the walls wobble. ‘This one is fine.’
Susie looked very determined. ‘There’s one on special offer at the pet shop.’
A-ha! Now this was more like it. I knew exactly which one she meant–Mulberry Mansion. It had two floors, a bathroom and a paddling pool for those hot summer evenings. A hutch like that was so much more
and now it was within my reach. All I had to do was convince EE and I knew exactly how to doit.
With one carefully placed back leg, I kicked hard at the side of the hutch. There was a creak as the wooden wall peeled away and landed with a thump on the grass. For a second, I didn’t move. Then I was off, zooming towards EE’s prize-winning roses. I hadn’t actually planned to eat them, but now that I was close enough to smell them, I couldn’t resist a nibble.
‘Get away from my flowers!’ EE shouted, running towards me and waving his arms. ‘Susie, wait for me in the car. As soon as I’ve caught that pesky rabbit, we’re going to the pet shop.’
I let myself be bundled into my travelling basket to wait whilst they went to collect my new home. At last, I thought, a plush pad I could invite my famous friends to. Maybe EE wasn’t so bad after all.
Of course, I should have known something would go wrong. But it wasn’t until EE had finished putting the new hutch together and the whole family gathered around to inspect it that the full horror dawned.
‘Ta-da!’ He waved a proud hand at my new home.
I stared. Never mind the wonky legs and upside down door, instead of a super-deluxe Mulberry Mansion, I was looking at a Cosy Cottage. It wasn’t even a rabbit hutch. The torn packaging on the ground clearly read ‘Gerbil House’.
Lily stopped chewing Barbie’s hair and pushed the soggy doll towards the open cage door. ‘Just right for my dolly.’
‘I’m sorry, Harriet,’ Susie said sadly. ‘Mulberry Mansion was sold out. This was all they had left.’
Mrs Wilson looked doubtful. ‘It’s a bit small.’
EE didn’t seem sorry at all. ‘Rubbish. It’s
, that’s all. She’ll soon get used to it.’