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Janet's Literature Reviews

Author Study - Robert Munsch

***   Robert Munsch   ***

robert_munsch_2.jpg
Image from http://www.robertmunsch.com

FUN FACTS ABOUT ROBERT MUNSCH

 

v     Robert comes from a family of 9 kids.

 

v     Robert almost flunked out of elementary school.

 

v     Robert studied for 7 years to be a Jesuit priest and then changed his mind.

 

v     Robert tells a story over and over for years and then he writes it down.

 

v     Robert does class visits for free, but you never know when or if he is coming.  He just shows up!

 

v     Robert loves to write silly poems too.

Munsch, Robert. 1986. LOVE YOU FOREVER. Illustrated by Sheila McGraw. Willowdale, Ontario: Firefly Books. ISBN:0920668364.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1980. THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 0920236820.

 

 

I selected LOVE YOU FOREVER and THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS as representative of the author's works. These two books reveal Robert Munsch's character and his style of writing in distinctively different ways.  

 

LOVE YOU FOREVER is unusual among his works.  Very touching and personal, it gives us a glimpse into his heart.  It is a picture storybook about a mother's love for her little boy as he grows from infanthood to manhood.  Through his whole life, she rocks him as he is sleeping and sings, "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, As long as I'm living my baby you'll be.”  The role of parent is reversed and then passed down when the man sings and rocks his mother when she is old and then sings the same song to his own baby daughter. 

 

LOVE YOU FOREVER started as a song to the two babies Robert and his wife had that were stillborn.  The song stayed in his head for a long time because every time he tried to sing it he cried.  The song eventually became LOVE YOU FOREVER ( Munsch ).  The author uses repetition and some humor to produce a book that children and adults will love.  Robert adds realism to the story by characterizing the boy as mischievous and the mother as loving, even though she sometimes "wanted to sell him to the zoo!"

 

Sheila McGraw's colored pencil drawings are an integral part of the story because they further develop the characteristics of the mother and the son.  The illustration I love is the mother crawling into the room and peeking lovingly at her sleeping little boy.  This is a heart touching book and I have yet to read this book and not cry.

 

THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS is more representative of Munsch's works.  It is about Elizabeth, a princess, who is going to marry Prince Ronald.  The castle is attacked by a dragon that takes Ronald, burns the castle, and leaves Elizabeth with only a paper bag to wear.  Using her wits and creativeness Elizabeth defeats the dragon and rescues Ronald.  Ronald is unappreciative of what she has accomplished and only criticizes her paper bag attire.  Elizabeth's response to Ronald concludes with, "You look like a real prince, but you are a bum."  Of course, they didn't get married.

 

THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS is a modern fantasy that gives what some critics say is a "delightful twist to the traditional Prince-rescues-Princess story" (2002).  Typical of Munsch's usual characters, the young princess is resourceful and witty.  In this story, Munsch shows, by the downfall of the dragon and the prince, the danger of pride.  Another theme of the story is that outward appearances are not as important as the person you are on the inside.

 

Michael Martchenko, the illustrator of THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS and of most of Robert Munsch's stories, uses watercolor and pen and ink for the illustrations in this book.  The illustrations are simple, with few details or colors, but they compliment the text of this simple story well.  Martchenko adds character development through the delightful expressions on the character's faces.

 

According to Sarah Ellis, a contributor with HORN BOOK, "His picture books work well with a single child or a beginning reader but their great delight is discovered in reading them aloud to groups" (2002). 

 

_____ 2002. Robert (Norman) Munsch 1945-. CONTEMPORARY AUTHORS ONLINE. In Contemporary Authors (database online). Accessed 14 June 04. 

 

Munsch, Robert. n.d. THE BOOK AND OTHER STUFF. Robert Munsch’s Official Website. Available at http://www.robertmunsch.com/books.cfm?bookid=40  Accessed 21 June 04.

 

 

   

 

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Links to web pages about Robert Munsch:

robert_munsch_1.jpg
Image from http://www.robertmunsch.com

Bibliography of Books by Robert Munsch

 

 I chose these books because they were the books I found in the children's section at the public library and the local elementary school.  They all looked well loved.  THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS is one of my daughter's favorite picture books and I still cry when I read LOVE YOU FOREVER.  There were 4 copies of LOVE YOU FOREVER, "for the parents" on the shelf at the public library.

 

Munsch, Robert. 2001. MAKEUP MESS. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. New York: Scholastic. ISBN: 0439187710.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1996. STEPHANIE'S PONYTAIL. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 1550374850.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1990. SOMETHING GOOD. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 1550370995.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1987. MOIRA'S BIRTHDAY. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 0920303854.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1986. THE BOY IN THE DRAWER. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 0920236367.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1986. LOVE YOU FOREVER. Illustrated by Sheila McGraw. Willowdale, Ontario: Firefly Books. ISBN: 0920668364.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1985. THOMAS' SNOWSUIT. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 0920303323.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1985. MORTIMER. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 0920303129.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1984. MILLICENT AND THE WIND. Illustrated by Suzanne Duranceau. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 0920236987.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1982. MURMEL MURMEL MURMEL. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 0920236294.

 

Munsch, Robert. 1980. THE PAPER BAG PRINCESS. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Toronto: Annick Press. ISBN: 0920236820.

 

These reviews were prepared in fulfillment of requirements for "Literature for Children and Young Adults", LS5603, Texas Woman's University, Summer 2004.