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MUNCHA! MUNCHA! MUNCHA! by Candace Fleming Kirkus Star


by Candace Fleming & illustrated by G. Brian Karas

Age Range: 3 - 7

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-689-83152-8
Publisher: Anne Schwartz/Atheneum

Mr. McGreely builds a veritable gulag around his garden to keep the rabbits out—before he learns he can’t, so he might as well join them. Come spring and Mr. McGreely decides to make real a long-standing dream: a garden full of lettuce and carrots and peas, the foods he so loves. And, of course, a favorite dietary component of the three rabbits who avidly watch Mr. McGreely plant his patch. When the first sprouts push their heads above the soil, the rabbits shuffle down and sample a few. “Tipppy, Tippy– Tippy– Pat! Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!” Mr. McGreely is furious. So he builds a little wire fence, but it is no more a deterrent to the rabbits than a stiff breeze. He throws up a higher wooden fence that is thwarted by digging, and the moat he subsequently builds is simply swum through. Finally he erects what resembles a super-maximum-security prison—concertina wire, spotlights, 20-foot cement walls: “ ‘I’ve outsmarted those twitch-whiskers for sure,’ he exclaimed.” Indeed, the next morning the garden is as he left it—but what’s that peeking out of the basket he has brought in to hold his harvest. Mr. McGreely grabs a carrot and takes a seat among them. Fleming makes it feel as though everyone has won in this contest, and her use of language and onomatopoetic effect is a singular delight. Equally charming are Karas’s gouache, acrylic, and pencil illustrations, which are droll and wistful, the artist at his witty best. (Picture book. 3-7)