Friday, June 12, 2009

Robert Munsch - A Favorite Read Aloud

If I'm going to read to kids, I would always rather read something funny than something beautiful. You know what I mean by beautiful - those artsy, poetic, quiet books that parents prefer at bedtime (because they put you to sleep). There's certainly a place in children's literature for them, but funny is always more fun. That's why "fun" is the root word of "funny". Isn't it?

Robert Munsch is a genius at read aloud books, probably because he is a storyteller at heart. While not every single one of his books hit the spot for me, the ones that do are absolutely the most fun for me to read aloud. I'm sure you've heard of a few of them: Love You Forever, Thomas' Snowsuit, Alligator Baby, Stephanie's Ponytail, Mortimer, The Paper Bag Princess, Mud Puddle.

His books always feature some kind of repetitive language, and sometimes a silly song. In Love You Forever, we see the mother crawling across the floor, picking up her baby, and singing her "I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always" song. In Stephanie's Ponytail, it's the kids yelling at Stephanie "Ugly, ugly, very ugly!" To which Stephanie replies, "It's MY ponytail, and I LIKE it!" Frequently there's a huge fight (very silly of course) between the grownups, or the child saves the day or outwits something scary, all of which is satisfying to a child on a deeper level.

BUT, all the cute dialog and repetitive language in the world won't make a book fun unless it's read aloud with energy and variety (see "Your Voice is a Symphony" below). Besides, the fun works both ways. Channeling a little Robin Williams or Eddie Murphy is fun for you too!


bridget in oregon said...

Our favorite was PaperBag Princess. The book is in tatters I had to read it outloud so much.

tsteffens said...


Just got caught up on all your posts. I love that you are doing this. It's a great idea!

Thanks for the Blog and for Story Time/Toddler Time. Gracie gets SO much out of it.

~Tammy Steffens