Tag Archives: Robert Munsch

Happy Canada Day 2017!

1 Jul

Today, Canada celebrates its 150th birthday.

The CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation) recently published a list of the top 150 bestselling Canadian books of the last decade. Many children’s and teens books made the list and I thought I would share them with you.

The #1 & #3 books were by Robert Munsch. Love You Forever was #1 and my favorite Munsch book, The Paperbag Princess,  was #3.

 

Munsch books appear 27 more times on the list – and most of them are illustrated by the same person, Michael Martchenko!

The first non-Munsch book to appear is A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Werner Zimmermann. It came in at #33.

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Number 37 was Sing A Song of Mother Goose  by Barbara Reid.

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Number 45 was ABC of Canada  by Kim Bellefontaine, illustrated by Per-Henrik Gürth.

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One of my favorites came in at number 56: Scaredy Squirrel by Mélanie Watt.

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You might not know what a zamboni is, but Canadian kids do. It is no surprise that written by Matt Napier and illustrated by Melanie Rose.

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The most classic story is Roch Carrier’s The Hockey Sweater,  illustrated by Sheldon Cohen. It was # 84.

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A new one to me was #85,  Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard.

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Anne of Green Gables  made the list at #89, the only one of L. M. Montgomery’s many books to make the list.

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The team of Kim Bellefontaine and Per-Henrik Gürth make a second appearance at #101 for Canada 123.

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Did you know Gordon Korman was Canadian? He made the list at #110 for One False Note,  part of the 39 Clues series.

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Astronaut Chris Hadfield made the list 3 times. His picture book, The Darkest Dark  is lucky #113.

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Number 121 is Eric Walters’  action-packed novel The Rule of Three.

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Phoebe Gilman’s Something From Nothing makes the list at # 124.

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The classic Red is Best  by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Robin Baird Lewis is # 144 and the final children’s book on the list.

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Princesses and the Rule of Three

1 May

One of my favorite memories of working in the William Walker library was reading Robert Munsch’s The Paperbag Princess to a first grade class, as part of a Robert Munsch author study.

downloadOne of the girls in that class, was obsessed with Disney princess books. When I read the end, where Princess Elizabeth tell Prince Ronald he is  a bum, the look on the girl’s face was priceless.

During our author study, we observed that Robert Munsch had each of his protagonists face their problem three times.

 

In her newest book, Princess Cora and the Crocodile, written by Laura Amy Schlitz and 61Y26+r7DzL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_illustrated by Brian Floca, the protagonist has three people who stand in her way of having an enjoyable life: her nanny, he mother and her father.  Like Robert Munsch, there is a repetitive, familiar rhythm to each of these encounters that helps young readers predict and anticipate what is about to come.

Princess Cora’s problems are very much, first world problems, but many children with resonate with the lack of control in their own lives.

Publisher’s Summary: A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Medalist join forces to give an overscheduled princess a day off — and a deliciously wicked crocodile a day on.

Princess Cora is sick of boring lessons. She’s sick of running in circles around the dungeon gym. She’s sick, sick, sick of taking three baths a day. And her parents won’t let her have a dog. But when she writes to her fairy godmother for help, she doesn’t expect that help to come in the form of a crocodile—a crocodile who does not behave properly. With perfectly paced dry comedy, children’s book luminaries Laura Amy Schlitz and Brian Floca send Princess Cora on a delightful outdoor adventure — climbing trees! getting dirty! having fun! — while her alter ego wreaks utter havoc inside the castle, obliging one pair of royal helicopter parents to reconsider their ways.

 

 

Princess thoughts

6 Jul

Cinderella never asked for a prince. She asked for a night off and a dress. – Kiera Cass

One of my favorite library stories to tell is about the day I read The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch aloud to a group of first graders. There was one particular girl in the class whose reaction I wanted to see. Mina LOVED Disney princess books and was excited to see a princess on the cover of this book, even the eponymous princess was wearing a paper bag. Her reaction at the end was priceless. She was speechless, and possibly horrified at the unexpected ending. I don’t think it ever became her favorite book, but I hope it planted a seed.

As I aired out the house very early yesterday morning, I picked up my library copy of I am Princess X by Cherie Priest and started to read.

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Publisher’s Summary: Once upon a time, two best friends created a princess together. Libby drew the pictures, May wrote the tales, and their heroine, Princess X, slayed all the dragons and scaled all the mountains their imaginations could conjure.

Once upon a few years later, Libby was in the car with her mom, driving across the Ballard Bridge on a rainy night. When the car went over the side, Libby passed away, and Princess X died with her.

Once upon a now: May is sixteen and lonely, wandering the streets of Seattle, when she sees a sticker slapped in a corner window.

Princess X?

When May looks around, she sees the Princess everywhere: Stickers. Patches. Graffiti. There’s an entire underground culture, focused around a webcomic at IAmPrincessX.com. The more May explores the webcomic, the more she sees disturbing similarities between Libby’s story and Princess X online. And that means that only one person could have started this phenomenon — her best friend, Libby, who lives.

This was a great summer read. It has strong female characters, mystery adventure, clue following and a story within a story. It was a quick read and, although it is marketed as YA, I’d say it was on the younger end of the YA spectrum, so middle grade readers looking for something a little more should give it a try.

 

Ursula Le Guin and The Princess in Black

21 Nov

Did you see or hear Ursula Le Guin’s acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters at the 65th National Book Awards on November 19, 2014?

Like many people she was one of the first science fiction/fantasy writers I ever read.I was probably in my teens.  There certainly wasn’t much of anything science fiction or fantasy-like  for me before I was a teen.

Nowadays, there is so much more for kids. A nice little entry level book is The Princess in Black written  by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale, and illustrated by LeUyen Pham.

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I have a girl in my class who is really into superheroes. This is a little young for her, but wouldn’t it have been great if this had been around when she was  in kindergarten or first grade!

Goodreads Summary:Who says princesses don’t wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black!

Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? From award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.

If you know a young person who loves superheroes, this is a wonderful read for them. I also think it would be great to shake things up a little and see what ahoys would think about this book. It would pair nicely with Robert Munsch’s The Paperbag Princess. 

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I still smile thinking about the time I read it to a class of first graders. When we got to the end a sweet little girl named Mina had a look of horror on her face. That wasn’t the ending she was expecting. Success!

Randy Ribay

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