The McFee Family Harvest
by Suzanne Halcomb 
Trafford Publishing

"At the entrance tunnel, Mama and Papa kissed each other and told one another to be careful. The parents separated with the children and one went one way and the other went the other."

Mama and Papa Rabbit, and their thirteen children are preparing for the winter—suppllies need to be collected, but above all food needs to be harvested. Mama and Papa remember the winter of 1972 and they want to make sure their brood has plenty to eat in case their tunnel gets buried in a snow drift. Working together, the Rabbit family makes easy work of gathering oats, fruits and vegetables. But with thirteen children there is bound to be some mischief. Dennis, the dreamer, can't help but wander off with his new friends, much to Mama's dismay. And the twins, Ned and Walter, get tricked in to helping Mrs. Rat hoard grapes despite their suspicions that her selfishness is wrong. After a busy day of harvesting, the family gathers at home to celebrate with carrot cookies. And once the children are asleep, Mama and Papa Rabbit settle in to enjoy the peace and quiet of a silent tunnel.

The Rabbit family is a wholesome bunch and the lessons they impart throughout the story are central to childhood—obediencee, diligence, and selflessness. The Rabbit children are encouraged to work together, the older always helping the younger. Their cooperative family life is a fine example for young readers of how to work together toward a common goal. Upon first glance, The McFee Family Harvest appears to be a picture book; the size and format of the exterior is comparable to early readers often rife with illustrations. However, this particular story is dense with text, and includes only four very small, rough sketches, and devotes multiple pages to the family's morning rituals and Mama Rabbit's breakfast preparation. The story of the Rabbit family definitely has its charm. Sections about little Dennis's hijinks with a skunk and a chipmunk have just the right measure of adventure and comedy to keep young readers engaged, however that energy is not always consistent. An entire scene where Ted, the older brother, must feetch John, the youngest, is repeated twice early in the story. Overall, The McFee Family Harvest has a sweet, informative nature that will likely find its audience with children who love stories about woodland creatures and their adventures.

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