Something to Munsch On

| November 13, 2011

Many of you may remember the children’s classic Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. For those who do remember, chances are pretty good that your eyebrows just raised and you feel yourself beginning to form an “awwww” as you read this. Others of you may be thinking, “That’s the one with the light blue cover, right?”

Regardless of your immediate reaction to being reminded of this book, don’t chew on it for too long. This post is not about that book.

I would like to bring your attention to some Munsch books that have been cast into the literary shadow created by the aforementioned text. Many of you familiar with this book may be pleasantly surprised with some of Munsch’s other funnier, more lighthearted works. Let me bring you back to the sorts of stories that were prevalent in the ol’ casa de Stess circa 1990.

Purple, Green, and Yellow. This story revolves around Brigid, a young girl searching for the perfect instruments to support her artistic creativity. She finally obtains the much-desired “super-indelible-never-come-off-until-you’re-dead-and-maybe-even-later coloring markers,” but runs out of canvas and chooses to draw on herself. Comedy ensues…

Mortimer. The story of a boy who refuses to go to bed, instead singing his song “Clang, clang, rattle-bing-bang, gonna make my noise all day! Clang, clang, rattle-bing-bang, gonna make my noise all day!” (Why, yes, I did just write that from memory…) Mortimer’s mom, dad, and even the police cannot find a solution to get Mortimer to go to sleep…

Moira’s Birthday. Moira is having a birthday party and her parents allow her to invite a handful of friends from school. Moira, however, chooses to invite all students in grades 1-6 (aaaaand kindergarten!). Her parents don’t know this until all of these children show up at their house. I am remembering a lot of last-minute ordering of cakes and pizza, making some math learning opportunities that could be created from this one.

Thomas’ Snowsuit. As a kid growing up in Syracuse, NY, this book was one with which I could relate. Thomas refuses to wear his ugly, brown snowsuit and argues with his mother, his teacher, and his principal about putting it on. I remember this story being quite hilarious, but the online reviews I am reading suggest that Thomas is a snotty brat with no concept of respect. Hm…

The Paper Bag Princess. This is one of my favorite children’s books and probably the most well-known Munsch book after Love You Forever. It puts a little twist on the damsel-in-distress model/formula of more traditional children’s fairy tales. Yeah. You see where I’m going with this… As the story goes, Princess Elizabeth is betrothed to Prince Ronald and they are planning to live happily ever after. One day, however, a dragon comes along, burns down the entire kingdom, and kidnaps Elizabeth’s beloved. Elizabeth, not one to just stand around, throws on a paper bag, the only thing she can find that isn’t burnt, and goes off to rescue her prince. She finds the dragon and cleverly outwits it. After going to all this trouble to rescue her prince, he says,

“Elizabeth, your hair is all dirty, you are wearing an ugly paper bag, you don’t have any shoes on, and you smell like a dragon’s ear. Come back and rescue me when you’re dressed like a real princess.” Elizabeth responds, “Ronald, your hair is all nice, your clothes are all pretty, you look like a nice guy, Ronald, but you know what? You are a bum.” The story ends with Elizabeth skipping off into the sunset. Alone.

Call number: JUV PZ7. M86 Pa 1992

A few other Munsch readings to consider: 50 Below Zero; Murmel, Murmel, Murmel; Wait and See; I Have to Go; and Stephanie’s Ponytail.