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review 2017-10-02 01:11
Book 65/100: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Love You Forever - Robert Munsch,Sheila McGraw

When I was a kid, my mom used to cry every time she read this book to us. I remember being squished into the Lay-Z-Boy recliner with her and my younger sister, enjoying the rhythm of the story and the coziness, but feeling awkward about the tears. When I was a teenager, I attended a retreat in which one of the leaders read this book as part of her presentation. I bawled. I knew then that I would be hopeless if I ever had to read this book aloud.

I got a copy of the book as a gift from my mom when I was pregnant. I told her I already knew I would be "hopeless" if I attempted to read it aloud and I joked that I wouldn't read it to my son until I had "practiced" reading it myself out loud for two weeks and was sure I could get through it without crying. But I have been "systematically" reading him the many children's books I received as gifts, and this one came up next on the shelf just days after I had proclaimed that I wouldn't read it aloud without sufficient preparation. So, I forged ahead.

I thought I was feeling strong the day I chose to begin reading it, but, nope. I was crying on the very first page. (It should be noted at this point that my son was only a little over a month old, so he was too young to feel awkward about mommy crying during story time. Maybe  by the time he's old enough to notice I will have pulled it together.)

I did notice something upon my adult reading of the book that I'd never noticed before, and that is that the son has a rainbow mug next to his kitchen sink. I wonder if he is gay. We never see his baby's mother, and he is an older father (there is gray in his hair), which would be in line with the arduous years many gay men have to put in before they are able to adopt, probably even worse in the 1980s when this was published.

This interpretation lends a new poignancy to the story about unconditional love, at a time when many queer youth are still afraid to come out to their parents.

This led me to search online to see whether others had similar theories about the son's backstory, and I didn't find much. Instead, I saw how divisive this book apparently is, with half its readers adoring it as a story of unconditional love, the other half decrying it as "creepy" and comparing the mother to a "stalker."

I fall into the first camp. I was like, "Come on, the extreme lengths she goes to are a METAPHOR for the extreme love all parents feel for their children. Children's books are all about exaggeration -- they aren't meant to be taken LITERALLY."

Except I am just the kind of person who will pick apart children's media for imparting unrealistic or "creepy" messages ... which made me realize that there is absolutely NO way I can be objective about this book. Too much nostalgia, and too much love is wound up in my own memories of it, and my interpretation.

So this isn't so much a review as an explanation of my lack of objectivity -- and also an intention to impart that very same lack of objectivity to my own child(ren) by reading this to them when they, too, are too young to see it as anything but a book about love and cementing that interpretation evermore.

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review 2017-06-18 01:00
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch,Michael Martchenko

Genre:  Comedy / Royalty / Dragons / Feminism / Fantasy

Year Published: 1980

Year Read:  1994

Publisher:  Annick Press




I have been reading most of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko’s works ever since I was a child and I have enjoyed most of their works! I have recently re-read a book from the popular duo that I had enjoyed during my childhood called “The Paper Bag Princess” and it is about how a princess is stripped down to wearing a plain paper bag when a dragon attacks her castle and she has to go rescue Prince Ronald, who has been kidnapped by the dragon. “The Paper Bag Princess” is definitely one of Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s most hilarious books ever written!

Elizabeth was a beautiful princess who was going to marry Prince Ronald. One day, however, a dragon comes by and burns her castle to the ground and kidnaps Prince Ronald. With nothing left to wear except for a paper bag, Elizabeth decides to go after the dragon and save Ronald.

If you think that “Stephanie’s Ponytail” was one hilarious and creative book, you should really check this book out! Robert Munsch has truly done an awesome job at writing this story about how a princess loses everything but still wanted to save the love of her life. Robert Munsch’s writing is simple yet sassy and hilarious at the same time and what I really loved about this book was that Robert Munsch made the heroine, Elizabeth into a clever and brave girl and I loved the way that she tries to go and rescue the prince by herself even though she lost everything that she owned and the way that she beats the dragon at its own game is just truly hilarious! Michael Martchenko’s illustrations are creative and hilarious in this book, especially of the images of Elizabeth being in a paper bag throughout the book. The images in this book are a bit more simplistic in this book than in Robert Munsch’s and Michael Martchenko’s later books as the black outlines of the characters make the characters stand out much more. I also loved the images of the dragon itself as it is green, have red spikes down its back and always look more suave than terrifying to the readers.


All in all, “The Paper Bag Princess” is a brilliant book from the famous Munsch/Martchenko duo as it shows that true courage will always win the day. Although I would have preferred the ending to be a little longer so that way it would be more satisfying just knowing what happened to each character after the adventure is over, this was not a major con for me, so I would still recommend this book to children ages four and up, but because of the dragon scenes, I think children ages five and older might stand those scenes better and the children ages four and up will like the simplistic writing of this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-18 00:16
Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
Love You Forever - Robert Munsch,Sheila McGraw

Genre:  Family / Growth / Life / Childhood / Love

Year Published: 1986

Year Read:  2017

Publisher:  Firefly Books





I have another bookish confession to make: Even though I have been reading many of Robert Munsch’s books when I was little, I had never once read his most highly acclaimed book “Love You Forever” and I am still kicking myself in the rear for not reading this book sooner! “Love You Forever” is a heartwarming story written by Robert Munsch along with artwork by Sheila McGraw that is definitely worth checking out!

The story starts off with a mother holding her newborn baby boy in her arms and as she rocking the baby to sleep, she started singing a little song:

“I’ll love you forever,
I’ll like you for always,
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be.”

We are then treated to the little boy growing up throughout the story as he started out as a troublemaking toddler to a teenager who likes to listen to strange music to a full grown adult man who eventually moved out of his mother’s house. One day however, the boy’s mother had gotten ill and…

What will the son do about this predicament and what will happen to the mother?

Read this book to find out!

Oh my gosh! How in the world could I not have read this book when I was little? I mean, I had read many of Robert Munsch’s other books including “The Paper Bag Princess” and “Stephanie’s Ponytail,” but this one seems to have fallen off the radar for me! Robert Munsch did a fantastic job at writing this story as we get to see how a mother witnesses the growth of her son throughout the story and how she still loves her son no matter how different her son becomes through looks and personalities. What made this book extremely unique in my eyes is how we get to see the positive and negative aspects of parenthood as while the boy occasionally got on his mother’s nerves whenever he got into trouble, we also see that the mother still loves her son no matter what the boy does and this aspect of the story made this book a truly heartwarming experience for me. I also loved the message of this book as it proves the importance of love by showing that the mother has always cared about her son no matter how much older she got and I think that children should read books that deals with the true meaning of family and shows that your family will always care about you through thick and thin. Sheila McGraw’s artwork is simply beautiful to look at as all the characters look realistic and I loved the images of both the mother and the little boy growing older with each progressive page. Probably my most favorite image in this book is of the son as a toddler sitting on the bathroom floor with toilet paper littering the floor and the boy holding a watch over the toilet!

[****SPOILER ALERT!!!!****

There is an infamous scene in this book where the mother ends up sneaking into her son’s house, who is at this point a full grown adult living on his own and this scene might be a bit unsettling for some readers to handle. Now, I can understand how this scene would be upsetting to some readers as the idea of a grown woman sneaking inside her adult son’s house without him knowing about it would cause a lot of uncomfortable mental images such as what if the old woman was actually a burglar in disguised and the son had no way of knowing this because he was asleep the whole time? For me personally, I was not really upset by this scene as I thought that it was an exaggerated show of affection that the mother shows her adult son and because these are fictional characters, I did not really take this scene that seriously. Now, if the mother sneaked into an unknown child’s bedroom late at night or someone got hurt in this scene, then I would have felt a bit differently about this scene.

****SPOILER ENDED!!!**** (hide spoiler)]


Overall, “Love You Forever” is a truly memorable and heartwarming book that children who wants to read books that shows the importance of love and family, will immediately enjoy! I would recommend this book to children ages four and up since there is nothing inappropriate in this book.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-03-20 23:11
The Paper Bag Princess
The Paper Bag Princess - Robert Munsch,Michael Martchenko

This precious book is about a princess named Elizabeth. This is a change from ordinary fairy tales because Princess Elizabeth has to save Prince Ronald instead of the other way around. The Lexile level is AD740L. I would use this in a 2nd grade classroom when I would be teaching about summarizing stories. I would read the book to the class and then give them each a paper bag. They would be instructed to decorate their paper bag as a princess or a prince. They will be given a flash card to put as the stomach of their paper bag royalty and they will put their summary of the story on this flash card!

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review 2016-04-15 19:02
THE READING Book 135: No Clean Clothes (Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko)
No Clean Clothes! - Robert Munsch
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