After years of dreaming of planting a garden, Mr. McGreely finally takes hoe and watering can in hand and makes his dream come true. Unfortunately for him (but luckily for readers), this is not the happily-ever-after part of the story. Late one night, three hungry bunnies appear: "Tippy-tippy-tippy, Pat! Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!" The next morning finds our farmer gnashing his teeth over the gnawed sprouts. So he builds a small wire fence. That night... "Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!" So Mr. McGreely builds a tall wooden wall. You get the idea. Young readers will hang on every word until they find out, once and for all, who will win the battle of the broccoli.
Packed with repetitive and onomatopoeic phrases, Candace Fleming's tale of man against nature will keep kids giggling--it may even inspire them to chomp on a few carrots themselves! G. Brian Karas's lively illustrations in gouache and pencil are full of visual wit, as the audacious "twitch-whiskers" patiently watch Mr. McGreely at his seemingly futile endeavors. (Ages 3 to 7) --Emilie Coulter
From Publishers Weekly
This onomatopoeic romp opens calmly, with a hopeful gardener planting a vegetable patch behind his brownstone house. Bright green leaves sprout from the rich soil. " `Yum! Yum! Yummy!' said Mr. McGreeley. `I'll soon fill my tummy with crisp, fresh veggies.' " He doesn't notice a cottontail trio watching expectantly from the garden wall. "And the sun went down. And the moon came up. And / Tippy-tippy-tippy, Pat!/ Spring-hurdle,/ Dash! Dash! Dash!/ Muncha! Muncha! Muncha!" The brazen "twitch-whiskers" hop and dig their way to a fresh-picked salad, and Mr. McGreeley awakens to a row of gnawed stems. Karas (Saving Sweetness), who works in chalky gray pencil with brick-red, kale-green and creamy-yellow gouache, pictures the bunnies waiting patiently as the incensed Mr. McGreeley builds a wire fence, a moat and an enormous cinderblock tower with searchlights. Fleming (Gabriella's Song) demonstrates an ear for language as the suburban farmer battles his furry foes, night after night. The ritual culminates in the "gotcha" finale, in which the rabbits seem defeated, only to burst into view with a vigorous repeat of the title. Fleming and Karas demonstrate great comic timing in this high-spirited tale of one-upmanship. Ages 3-7.
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