So after my last blog post I got to thinking, if I had to choose a favorite picture book now it would probably be a Robert Munsch picture book. The Paperbag Princess holds a special place in my heart, especially when I heard that he originally wanted to Princess to punch the Prince out at the end of the story, but I think it’s another one.
Love You Forever gets me every time. I would say that maybe it’s not a story that gets read to kids as often as his other ones because I think you need to be a little older to get the full impact of the story (and when I say full impact I mean ball your eyes out like a little baby).
It’s about a mother who brings her kid home from the hospital and sings to her child a lullaby that goes something like:
I’ll love you forever
I’ll like you for always
As long as I’m living
My baby you’ll be
And as the kid grows up into a toddler, a child, and a teenager the mother would sneak in and sing the kid that song. Eventually the kid moves out and the mother is left all alone, and the kid comes to visit one day and rocks his mom like she always rocked him and sings the song.
It makes me want to ball just thinking about it. I wish I were kidding.
The one thing about Munsch books that I’ve always loved is that no matter how old you get, most of them have some pretty valuable life lessons that will stick with you. The stories, while simple, only seem to get better as you get older.
For high school graduation I decided to get my friends picture books as grad presents. Robert Munsch seemed like the best option, and I made sure to get everyone a different one. Everyone opened their gifts and was completely surprised. The joy on their faces as they remembered their favorite stories was priceless and it wasn’t long before the stories came back to them.
This is the third blog I’ve done on children’s books and what’s become clear to me is how many memories, and emotions, and even little lessons are tied to these books. All it takes is a title and a few flipped pages to bring them back.
I guess what my favorite picture book reminds me now is that everything comes full circle. No matter how much life goes on it always manages to stay the same. In 20 years as much as I love this book it will have a million new connections for me, as well as the old.
So I challenge anyone out there who has a few minutes to spare. Dig through those old boxes (I bet you have them) and reread your old picture books. It’s surprising how fast you find yourself on a trip down memory lane.