As you read the reviews on Bookshop Talk, you'll notice that every review is positive. No, we're not a bunch of literary
pushovers who love everything we pick up; we just see no point in telling you about a book if we didn't like it.

August 21, 2013

Robert Munsch Book Reviews

Reviewed by Sarah Hofhine

Robert Munsch is a Canadian author from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania whose career in childcare led him to become an author when his boss ordered him to publish all those stories he was telling the children.  He now has 54 published books and travels extensively telling stories.  These are my 3 favorite Munsch books:

Princess Elizabeth is living the dream: royal castle, royal wardrobe, and royal fiancé Prince Ronald – until one day a dragon ruins her castle and takes off with her Prince.   Wearing only a paper bag she sets off to find the dragon and rescue Ronald.

This is my absolute favorite picture book of all time.  As per usual with Robert Munsch’s books, it’s full of fun plot surprises and quirky characters.  Elizabeth is one of the best literary heroines ever written.  It’s amazing how well the characters are developed in just a few short pages, thanks in large part to the fabulous illustrations.  The illustration style fits the tone of the story perfectly. 

Make sure to check it out to find out whether Elizabeth saves Ronald and gets her “happily ever after.” 

Thomas doesn’t want to wear his ugly new snowsuit, and he goes to great lengths to avoid it, waging war with his mother, his teacher, and his principal.  Will anything or anyone be left standing by the time they get him into it?

The illustrations in this book are just delightful.  The best part is how expressive the characters are – every line of every limb adds to the character development, from hair down to foot position.  Thomas’ expressions are hysterical.
One of the best things about Robert Munsch’s books is how much fun they are to read aloud.  Thomas’ Snowsuit is particularly fun to read…the kids always chime in when Thomas says “NNNNNO.”  Make sure you REALLY draw out that ‘N’ sound.  Extra bonus points if you let out your inner goofball; the characters just scream for funny, over-the-top voices.

Love You Forever is Robert Munsch’s best known book.  It started out as a song, written in honor of his two stillborn babies.  He changed publishers when the company which had published his previous works wouldn’t publish it.   Love You Forever came out in 1986 and was the best-selling children’s book in Canada for 3 years straight.  It was also the best-selling children’s book in the U.S. as of 1994, quite a feat considering it didn’t have an American publisher or distributor!  (All info in this section is paraphrased from the ‘about’ section of his website

Love You Forever is the story of a mother and son and their lifelong relationship.  Throughout all the stages of her son’s life from his babyhood to adulthood the mother sneaks into her child’s room after he is asleep and rocks him and sings him a special song, “I’ll love you forever.”  (I wish I knew the tune Robert Munsch wrote for this!)

The book paints perfectly and poignantly the challenges of parenthood and the unbreakable bond of love between a parent and child.  McGraw’s art complements the story perfectly, and her unusual perspectives (i.e. scene angles) keep it interesting.  It’s fun to watch both the son and the mother grow and change.  There are also 2 ‘extra’ characters who show up consistently in the illustrations throughout the book and add a lot of fun.

Warning: reading this book will make you want to go hug somebody you love. 

Market: Children’s Picture Book
Language: Wholesome and fun
Violence: None
Sensuality: None
Mature themes: Aging (Love You Forever)


Anonymous said...

Robert Munsch is so great!!! My favorite book of his is ALLIGATOR BABY. Sooooooooo funny!!!

Thanks for these great reviews and for reminding us all of these classic books, Sarah!

Amoniel said...

I've never read Thomas' Snowsuit, but I adore The Paper Bag Princess and Love you Forever!
I once received Paper Bag Princess from a family friend as a get well gift, and I have fond memories of that particular visit and the book afterwards. I lost it some years ago (as children are wont to do), though, and I really need another copy. Heh, I'll get around to that someday...
Thanks for reviewing these fantastic books and this zany, wonderful, heartfelt author!

Amy Finnegan {} said...

I could read The Paper Bag Princess 1000 times and never tire of it. Come to think of it, I have three kids, so I probably HAVE read it to them 1000 times!