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also won a Juno for Best Children's Album, has a
star on the Walk of Fame in Toronto and was
made a Member of the Order of Canada. Which,
ofcourse, is nothing to sneeze at.)
But for Munsch, winning literary prizes
handed out by adults has never been the point.
The books are, first and foremost, written solidly
from a child's perspective, reflecting, in techni-
colour, the weird frustrations and laugh-out-loud
subversive silliness that kids live with on a regu-
Kids like stories that kids like," says
Munsch, speaking of his books' appeal to the
kindergarten set. "That's a wonderful thing."
His innate ability to tap into children's
psyches can likely be traced back totwo different
eras. First there was his childhood, in Pittsburgh,
Pennsylvania, where he tramped around the
woods near his home and, as a quiet kid, day
dreamed about becoming asuperherowho might
someday save the world. He says he did more day-
dreamingand gettinginto trouble than studying.
"It was a great place to be a kid," he says
"Except they sent me to school."
A cure for writer's block
As for the second era, Munsch says that his
books are linked to the years he spent working at
daycare centres, first in Oregon, then in Guelph,
Ontario, where he still lives with his wife, Ann
and where this reporter interviewed him.
Robert Munsch captivates
children during story time
early in his writing career
Back in the late '70s, in order to settle down
UED FROM PAGE
For nearly four decades, Robert Munsch, the toddlers and preschoolers in nursery schoo
author and Costco member, has created some of he'd make up stories on the fly. Some of them
Canada's most endearing-and enduring were hits that the kids asked for again and again
"Theywere my organic book editors," he says
books for young children. Classics like The
Paper Bag Princess and Love You Forever have
sold tens of millions of copies in dozens of lan ing any of the stories down.
now ofthe kids.Ittook him 10 years to start wr
guages around the world. A natural storyteller, After sending out the manuscript of Mud
Munsch has been known to mesmerize 4,000 Pudde to a dozen publishers, it was finally
children in large stadium shows using nothing picked up and landed on shelves in 1979. Other
s, such as David's Father and The Paper Bag
tlingly (and hilariously) mallea Princess, soon followed. To date, more than 50
ble face. In fact, Munsch is not Robert Munsch books and numerous treasuries
only a household name, but are in print, although that number is always
but a story, his voice and his stair
kids actually know how
heading in one direction: up.
to spell it.
For years Munsch used his classroom and
library author visits to find inspiration for new
stories. Half storyteller, half improv comedian,
he would ask his pint-sized audience for ideas
and then go to work weaving new stories, turning
Yet ask the authorto
list some of the awards
and accolades his books
have earnedover the yearsand
he shakes his head. None. (For the record, that's
not exactly true. Besides a couple of lit
awards early in his career, he's
the best of them into books.
Against this backdrop, Munsch's popularity
as an entertainer began to grow, selling out
The Costco Connection JULY/AUGUST 2018