Okay, so if I can’t trace where my love of stories started, I am more than happy and willing to give the credit to Robert Munsch.
If you haven’t heard of him:
On this Throw-back Thursday I wanted to reflect on how much of an influence his stories had on my childhood.
Robert has a brilliant mind for telling stories to children, about children, in a way in which they want to sit still and listen. His raspy voice always could keep my attention and I knew it immediately when I heard it.
He perfected the art of telling a story in front of a group of kids, something which isn’t easy to do, through practice and repetition. It isn’t easy to be able to bring a story and its characters to life in a way that manages to keep the attention of a room of little people, who will lose interest very easily if not given a reason to listen up. At the same time though, he might have just the same affect on any adult who just so happens to be listening as well, bringing multiple generations together.
He would improvise, changing the names of the characters in a story he was telling to match one of the children in the audience. In a world where so many ugly stories surface in the media about the abuse and neglect of children, it’s such a breath of fresh air to know there are the ones who care and who have done all they could to make children happy.
His voice is his sound affect. He can tell a story with the goofiest tones. It is his instrument, being able to raise or lower it where needed. This makes stories fun for kids.
I am proud to call this author a part of Canadian literary culture. I wouldn’t be surprised if he has been responsible for getting an endless number of kids interested in reading and stories since he moved to this country all those years ago.
The same library I would go with my mother and siblings to borrow his books and stories on tape might be one in Ontario, Canada just like where he might be doing a reading for a group of rapt and attentive boys and girls.
From his story of a mud puddle that threw itself onto an unsuspecting little girl (a fear of mine, being a little girl that did not like to get dirty). To a princess wearing a burnt paper bag to face a fiery dragon.
From a train that ran through the living room. To a little boy who did not want to wear his ugly brown snowsuit.
Love You Forever is probably one of the top new baby gifts. It has a sweetness and an innocence all throughout that will make you want to cry, the moment you know what it’s like to hold a precious child in your arms. This is an instance where he has brought children and adults together, to show what a great story can do.
Robert must have had inspiration for the dozens of stories he’s come up with over the years, from a life well lived. It hasn’t always been easy for him, dealing with crippling mental illness. I would like to talk with him, to ask him for the inspiration for every one of his stories. I hope he knows how much his stories are gifts that make all who reads or hears them want to keep on reading and listening, that through all the dark times he must have faced, he has been a light to so many kids like myself.
Happy Seventieth Birthday Robert Munsch. Thank you for bringing my childhood to life with your tales of everyday mishaps with a sprinkling of the magic of what it’s like to be a kid thrown in for good measure.