When it comes time to choosing the perfect holiday present for a child, you can’t go wrong with a good book. With well over 50 plus titles, American-born Canadian children’s author Robert Munsch is bound to delight children. Munsch’s books have been translated into 32 languages, including 8 aboriginal languages. Why not make a DIY gift basket featuring Robert Munsch books.
Finding Christmas by Robert Munsch
I don’t think you can go wrong with a Munsch book. Finding Christmas will soon become a holiday favorite. Who hasn’t gone snooping for presents?
In Robert Musch’s “Finding Christmas”, Julie always finds the Christmas presents her parents hide. However, this year, she can’t find them anywhere! Have her parents decided not to have Christmas at all?
Julie’s friend Denise suggests that they are in a large box on the sleigh that Julie’s parents put on their roof as a decoration. Julie climbs up and finds the presents, but then she cannot get back out of the box. With no way out Julie decides to take a nap. Her parents eventually find Julie in the box and wrap her up, placing her under the tree to Mommy & Daddy.
On Christmas morning Andrew and Tyya find Julie under the tree, so they wrap themselves up too. When Mommy and Daddy wake up the kids all yell “Merry Christmas.”
Munsch reminds us on the very last page that family is the best Christmas present. Finding Christmas is both warm and touching. The main character Julie is actually Munsch’s daughter Julie. Robert’s daughter Julie is also featured in the book Makeup Mess. The Munschs have three children: Julie, Andrew and Tyya who are all in Finding Christmas.
Michael Martchenko, Munsch’s most popular collaborator is illustrator of the book. As always,Martchenko’s illustrations in the book have both character and spunk.
The Enormous Suitcase
The Enormous Suitcase illustrated by Michael Martchenko was “written for a girl who sent Munsch a letter asking for a book about a girl who lives in two different houses.” In the book, Kelsey rotates back and forth between her mom and dad’s house. This is something that many children in today’s society of split homes can relate to.
Kelsey decides she wants to take items of importance back and forth from house to house with her, including her pillow, a picture frame and even the dog, which her mother tells her not to take. Kelsey packs the dog in the enormous suitcase and takes the bus to her father’s, however she forgets that her father has a cat. Her fears of the cat and dog not liking each other are relieved when she finds the cat and the dog sleeping together. Kelsey’s dad tells her, “Isn’t it amazing how things can work out if you just try?”
On her next trip, Kelsey brings the goldfish to her father’s house, but, instead of the dog and cat liking the fish, the cat eats the goldfish. The books ends with, “Because it turns out that some things do not work out, no matter how hard you try.”
With so many kids living in dual houses the book reminds children that sometimes no matter how often parents try to work things out that it doesn’t always end the way we hope. I think the book gives the opportunity to talk to children about divorce and how many children have two homes. Sometimes custody is shared between a parent and grandparent, or sometimes children live between the homes of two mommies, or two dads or between a mom and a dad.
As always, Marchenko’s illustrations are delightful and engaging.
Braids by Robert Munsch
Like most girls Ashley dislikes it when her mom fusses over her hair. It’s Saturday morning and Ashley wants to go outside and play, but first her mom must put braids in Ashley’s hair. Ashley has to sit still for hours while her mom brushes and pulls and braids: back and forth, up and down, round and round. Grandma comes to visits and asks Ashley why she is upset. When Ashley explains, Grandma explains that Ashely’s mom had learned the art of hair braiding from her, and that as a little girl the mom did not like the time it took grandma to braid her hair. Ashley and Grandma chase the mom around the house and braid her hair too. They even braid the hair of Ashley’s teacher, who is thrilled with the results, however not everyone approves.
My daughter enjoyed the story and related to how she does not like it when I french braid her hair as it does take awhile. The story has the typical Munsch humor. I think this book helps children to understand that people are diverse. Not all hair styles look good on all people. It also passes down family traditions.
Calgary Dave Whamon is the illustrator in Braids. I find his illustrations to be bright and engaging.
While Braids is not as memorizing as some of Muncsch other titles, it is an enjoyable book that kids are sure to like.
A thoughtfully chosen book becomes a timeless keepsake. This holiday season give the gift of Robert Munsch books. Several of his books are on sale right now via Amazon.ca.
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What is your favorite Robert Munsch book?