- ISBN-13: 9780689831522
- ISBN-10: 0689831528
- Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
- Publish Date: January 2002
- Page Count: 32
- Reading Level: Ages 4-8
- Dimensions: 10.72 x 9.02 x 0.45 inches
- Shipping Weight: 0.91 pounds
Series: Anne Schwartz Books
Bunnies wage war in the garden
No doubt Beatrix Potter's Mr. McGregor would sympathize with his literary cousin, poor Mr. McGreely, the troubled gardener in Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!, a lively new book for preschoolers. After dreaming for years of digging in the dirt, Mr. McGreely finally decides to break out his hoe and seeds, planting a nice little crop of lettuce, carrots, peas and tomatoes. Watching him closely are three little bunnies who remain unnamed, but who are fiendishly clever at overcoming any obstacle Mr. McGreely erects to thwart their crunch-munchy feasts.
The obstacles start simply with a small wire fence, but quickly escalate into the accoutrements of a full-blown war. Next come a tall wooden wall and a deep wet trench, both of which the bunnies quickly surmount.
Finally, Mr. McGreely builds an enormous, castle-like fortress, which actually does stop the bunnies. However, when the thrilled gardener makes his way to his plot, struggling to get over and under the many obstacles to harvest his crop, he realizes the bunnies have outsmarted him yet again.
Candace Fleming's lively text is filled with many splendid sound effects ("Spring-hurdle, Dash! Dash! Dash!" as well as, of course, "Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!") as the bunnies make their way toward the forbidden fruit (or, in this case, vegetables). She includes clever wordplay to amuse young and old alike, such as Mr. McGreely's litany of names for his nemeses: flop-ears, puff-tails and twitch-whiskers.
In one of the best blendings of text and artwork I've seen recently, when Mr. McGreely spies his bedraggled plants, the words inside his wide-open mouth read: "he was really, really angry." G. Brian Karas' artwork is childishly simple, yet, like his trio of bunnies, it's also fiendishly clever. Despite the kids-and-crayons feel, his depictions of the bunnies' actions are constantly hilarious, whether they're spying from afar or making their way into the garden.
Muncha! Muncha! Muncha! is destined to be a preschool favorite - a book kids will clamor for over and over again. Luckily, it's so much fun to read aloud, adults will be happy to oblige.
Alice Cary writes from Massachusetts.