All Robert Munsch books are based on improvised stories—usually inspired by real kids—which the beloved author recited live for audiences of schoolchildren. As a result, they're the perfect books perfect for reading aloud to your little ones.
While children love Munsch’s kooky voices and wacky narratives, parents appreciate his books for dealing with real life issues. One of his most popular books, Love You Forever, was inspired by his and his wife’s loss of two babies—and their journey to become the adoptive parents of three.
Since he started writing at the age of 35, Munsch’s books have become some of the bestselling children’s books of all time. Here are eleven of our favorites!
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Love You Forever
This heartwarming story about the lullaby a mother sings to her son throughout his life has touched the lives of millions of readers, making it one of the bestselling children’s books of all time. Inspired by the real life story of Munsch and his wife, Love You Forever has held a special place in the hearts of children and parents alike since it was published in 1986.
The Paper Bag Princess
The Paper Bag Princess, published in 1980, tells the story of Princess Elizabeth, who goes to rescue her prince when her castle is attacked by a dragon. (The dragon’s fire burns all her clothes, so she must don a paper bag.) The reversal of the traditional damsel-in-distress narrative won Munsch much acclaim from feminists, and the book was endorsed by the National Organization for Women. Keep an eye out for its big screen debut—actresses Elizabeth Banks and Margot Robbie have signed on for a film adaptation!
Munsch’s first book, published in 1979, recounts the struggles of Jule Ann, who is forever being chased by a mud puddle. No matter what she does, Jule Ann always seems to be muddy all over. But with the help of two bars of soap and her willful determination, Jule Ann will prevail.
I Have to Go!
When you gotta go, you gotta go. Though Andrew’s parents are always asking him if he has to use the bathroom, his answer is always no. This time, on a road trip, the typical no becomes a constant verse of “I have to go!” Munsch approaches the age-told issue of potty-training with humor and aplomb.
Winter is coming, but that doesn’t seem to bother Thomas, who refuses to wear his snowsuit, despite the agonized pleas of his mother, teacher, and principal. Munsch was inspired to write the story after telling a room full of hundreds of kids wearing snowsuits a story—he imagined how difficult it must have been to get all the children to wear them despite the freezing weather.
Megan is instructed to feed the pigs but under no circumstances to let them out of their pen. Uh oh, well—you can imagine what happens. After their escape, the pigs run amok, even following Megan to school and taking a ride on the school bus.
Angela can’t find her dad at the airport, and before she knows it, somehow she’s landed herself in the cockpit, behind the controls. All she does is push a few buttons . . . but then, we have lift off!
David’s Father was adapted as a long bedtime story for Munsch’s daughter Julie, who was afraid of strangers and wanted to hear a story about a parent and child who didn’t resemble one another (Munsch is white and Julie is not), and thus David’s Father was born.
The Boy in the Drawer
One of Munsch’s personal favorites, this early story tells of Shelley, who discovers a small boy inside her dresser drawer who starts causing a lot of problems.
The classic grocery store scene in which parents and kids war over what to eat is the focus of this story. Tyya, Andrew, and Julie are desperate for “something good” like ice cream, candy, or cookies. But dad’s a stickler for health. When a price sticker lands on dad’s nose, though, he might just be forced to take home something good.
Murmel, Murmel, Murmel
This book began with the word “murmel,” as Munsch claims he just loved the sound of it. When Robin discovers a baby in her sandbox who can only say “murmel, murmel, murmel,” she realizes she must find it a good home—but who would make the ideal parent?
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