Tuesday, July 19, 2011

love you forever...but seriously?!

I might be in the minority here - but I am not a huge Robert Munsch fan. Oh, some of his stuff is okay but I certainly don't rant and rave about his work like a lot of other people.

One of his classics is Love You Forever. I just read it to the girls tonight (they pick the bedtime stories) and I was reminded of why he's not my favorite kid's author.

For those of you who may not know what this book is about, it follows a Mom and her little boy through all of his different stages growing up - from the terrible two's to the teenage stage (and beyond!). And at each stage, no matter how frustrated she gets with him, when she goes into his room at night and sees him peacefully sleeping, she goes over to his bed and picks up her sleeping son in her arms. She rocks him back and forth and sings this song:

"I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my baby you'll be."

Towards the end of the book, when the Mother is sick and dying in her old age, it's the son's turn to rock his mother in his arms. And he sings: "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living, my Mommy you'll be."

Then on the final page, he goes into his own baby daughter's room and starts the whole tradition over again.

Sounds sweet right? What's not to love about this book? Well, I'll tell you what. THIS page (that comes right before the part where the son & mother switch places with the whole rock-a-bye-baby thing):

The mom drives across town at night, with a ladder strapped to the top of her car. The words on this page (in case you can't read then) say:

"If all the lights in her son's house were out, she opened his bedroom window, crawled across the floor, and looked up over the side of his bed. If that great big man was really asleep she picked him up and rocked him back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. And while she rocked him she sang: I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always. As long as I'm living my baby you'll be."

Hello! Am I the only one who finds that just downright creepy? I do get slight relief when I see that the picture shows he's sleeping in a single bed, and not sharing a bed with his wife already! But seriously...I just keep picturing Les' Mom driving across town at night with a ladder on the top of her car and creeping into Les' bedroom to rock him. And it just weirds me out!

I dunno...I just can't get over it. Sorry, Mr. Munsch. I know a lot of people find this book very touching and sweet and it brings them to tears (ahem...Michelle!). But everytime I read it, I'm just creeped out.

But that's just me.

(And don't even get me started on his "We Share Everything!" book....)


Alicia said...

I don't know if I even recognized my discomfort until you put it into words! That part of the story totally IS creepy and I figure they could have left that little part out! And, "We Share Everything" is a CRAZY story. How is that even acceptable? I don't think I'd love to hear a story of my little boy trading clothes with a girl and ending up in pink, from head to toe!! Have you ever heard Mr. Munsch himself telling his stories? We have a CD of his "greatest hits" and I'm telling you, the annoyance level has hit dramatic proportions after actually listening to him. YIKES!!! But, I have to say, in his defense, we actually do love some of his stories a lot around here. Some of them are just a bit much to handle! :)

pam said...

I think most people find that part of the story quite creepy.

Carey has a general dislike of Robert Munsch stories. He thinks they're pointless. I don't mind some of his stories. I really like "Paper Bag Princess", although I always wonder at how it's possible that everything got burned up except a PAPER bag. PAPER. Really.

Amanda said...

I feel the same way about this book. I don't read it anymore to Courtney.

Melissa said...

I am not the biggest fan of Munsch stuff but I do love this book, and the Paper Bag Princess.

I believe all the book is trying to convey is that no matter how old your child gets they will always be your baby. Always. Even when you're child grows into an adult.

I think it is metaphorically referring to the fact that you will still look at him or her and see the tiny little baby you used to rock in the middle of the night.

There are tons of books I love way more than these two but I just thought I would put in my 2 cents!

TammyIsBlessed said...

I am SOOOO with you!

jj said...

I am right there with you..not a fan. I have a hard time with the fact that i bought some of his books and in turn supported a children authors drug addiction....so needless to say if a story doesn't make much sense...he was probably high when he wrote it:)

Gin said...

I don't know now if I'll ever get the mental image of Les's Mom driving over and rocking him out of my mind!!! That's too funny!!!

Krista Nicole said...

I also find that part quite creepy and have disliked this book for a long time... but my opinion of it softened a bit when my students were doing a research project on Munsch and discovered that he wrote that book because he and his wife had two stillborn babies. Writing the book was his "therapy".

Rhonda said...

Thanks Krista for a bit of perspective. I've often wondered what the hype was about Munsch, and I've pre-read a lot of his books before getting them from the library, thinking maybe I just wasn't getting it, but often would put them back without signing them out. Its nice to know I'm not alone in my opinion. I'd rather not have my children read these books, but another children's series I don't care for much are the Mercer Meyer ones. A bit too much attitude towards parents for my taste.

Kelly said...

I have never been a huge fan of this book either but thought I was the only one. Glad to hear it creeps other people out as well.

Anonymous said...

It used to creep me out. Then I found out this was written about the babies Munsch and his wife never got to see grow up...


Suddenly makes more sense :'(