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
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.
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.