Happy Birthday Mr. Munsch! 70 years for the prolific writer, which for us has meant an amazing catalogue of fantastic stories. Having grown up with his books, it’s astounding to look back at his career and take in the sheer number of works he has produced. To help celebrate the momentous occasion, I thought I would share my top 5 books by the legendary Robert Munsch. So here you are, my favourite five:
Megan is told to feed the pigs. Megan is also told to not open the gate because the pigs will escape. There was a reason she was told to not open the gate, and soon the animals are running wild. They’re drinking coffee, they’re on the school bus, and generally just out of control.
I’ve always liked how this book explores the hilarious consequences of not quite listening. Helped along by the glorious illustrations of Michael Martchenko, I’ve always enjoyed watching Megan not quite learn her lesson.
Thomas is an obstinate child, but luckily he’s got other people looking out for him. You might think getting a toddler into a snowsuit so that he could go play outside would be easy, but let’s just say things go downhill quickly.
This is an extremely funny book which looks at the difficulties of getting a toddler into something they don’t want to wear. I’m not sure I can give a description that adequately conveys how wonderful this book is. I think you’ll just have to read it.
3. I Have to Go
One of the reasons Mr. Munsch has had such a prolific career is his ability to write relatable stories. This of course is one of his best in that regard, as it is a tale anyone who has kids (or who remembers their own childhood) can understand.
Andrew doesn’t need to go before he puts his snowsuit on. He doesn’t need to go before they go on a long trip. He definitely doesn’t need to go before before bed. Or at least that’s what he says, because so soon after an extremely insistent no? Well, I’d hate to spoil it for you.
This one is probably the favourite of a lot of Robert Munsch fans, and with good reason. We’ve all heard a million stories about the gallant prince rescuing the helpless princess, but this one is a little different.
After a dragon absconds with prince Ronald, the Paper Bag Princess must save the day. With an insufferable prince, a fantastic heroine, and an unenthused dragon, this is simply a wonderful story. If you’d like, you can also check it out on downloadable video or on DVD. It’s a great book, and I suspect that many would list this as their favourite Munsch.
As I put this down for number one, I should confess that as a child I never really liked this book. It’s emotionally powerful, and if I remember correctly I would have picked something that made me laugh ten times out of ten over something that was touching.
With time though, I’ve come to appreciate this as his finest work. Keeping in mind this book was written in response to the birth of a stillborn child, I’ve come to view this one as Munsch’s finest piece as it is him sharing his struggle and heartbreak. That Munsch managed to channel such difficult emotions into an eminently readable story for children must be taken into account. I believe it’s easier to share complex emotions with adults, but given who he wrote this book for and what it contains – I have to say this is his masterpiece.
The great thing about Robert Munsch of course is that I could have picked five other books and picked five extremely good titles. What do you think? Would you have picked the same list? Let me know in the comments below.