Picture Book

#TBT Book Memories: Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

 

mommy and kidbot

“Love You Forever” was released the year my sister was born as a love song to author Robert Munsch and his wife’s two stillborn babies. The graphics are dated by today’s standards, but the pages contain words so simple, so elegant, and yet so powerfully emotional that it amazes me they can be held between two flimsy boards.

I first heard “Love You Forever” in school. It must have been second grade. I did not think much of it, as I lived with my grandparents and, at the time, did not know where my mother was. I knew they loved me dearly, but they were my grandparents, and I could not connect to a story about a mother who loved her son so much that she would sing by his bedside each and every night.

When I was a young teenager, the book came to me again in the hands of my cousin, just a toddler at the time. I loved nothing more than to cuddle up with him and read, and he was more than happy to bring me a book. With that little child huddled up close to me, I began to connect with the words. The love I felt for that baby boy was only a fraction of what a mother would feel, I knew, and I could not imagine how a heart could get any larger.

“I’ll love you forever. I’ll like you for always. As long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be”.

The story burrowed its way into my heart and the words etched themselves in my memory. My cousin grew up from a cuddly toddler, to a strong and feisty teenager. I grew from teenager to adult. I went to college. I found a career. I married. And, one-year-two-weeks ago, I became a mother.

I received two copies of “Love You Forever” as gifts during my pregnancy. Had no one purchased it for me, I would have purchased it myself. I read to my baby everyday, but “Love You Forever” is the hardest for me to read, because every time I try, my voice catches and tears prick the corners of my eyes. As a mother I now truly understand what Robert Munsch is saying. My heart overflows with a love for my son that makes my breath catch and my chest feel tight, especially during those quite moments in his bedroom when I hold him close to me and rock him back and forth and back and forth… Often, when I close my eyes and feel the warmth of his small body, I hear the refrain, “I’ll love you forever…” singing in my mind.

love you forever by robert munsch

Book Review – Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett

 

Tickle Monster by Josie Bissette

Edited and virtually rewritten after I read what I’d posted at 11 last night. I should sleep on posts I write that late.

My son is not very ticklish, but he loves to be tickled. When our searching fingers find just the right spot his eyes light up and he rewards us with a big belly laugh and little snorting giggles. If it even looks like you are about to play tickle monster with him, your arm held high and your hand in the shape of a claw, he gives a big, squinty-eyed, toothy grin. As you can imagine, a book with the very title “Tickle Monster” was a very welcome sight to a couple of tired, bedraggled, and loving parents.

Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett

We found our copy at the local Goodwill outlet after the family in front of us in line abandoned it at the register. My husband swore he had seen it somewhere before. Likely at one of our many outings to Powell’s. I was surprised after inspecting the cover and pages that it was in such amazing condition. Sadly, most children’s books in the Bins (a friendly neighborhood name for Goodwill Outlets) are chewed up, stained, and torn. My husband, a big kid himself in many ways, wanted it. I was not going to argue.

“Tickle Monster” is an endearing children’s science fiction picture book with whimsical art by Kevan J. Atteberry and zany typography. Tickle Monster from the planet Tickle could not be any cuter with his big eyes and colorful striped tail and horns. His only mission in life is to bring the precious sound of children’s laughter to the universe.

Tickle Monster Inside Peak

This is not a book you can simply read to your child. To get the full effect, you must tickle as well. If you are unpracticed in the art of tickling (gasp), don’t worry! Tickle Monster will guide your fingers. Though the story has some rhyming quirks that break the sing song quality of the prose, the rhyme scheme, however flawed, is not the point of the story. The glory of this picture book is that it sets the perfect stage for quality bonding time. It encourages parents, older siblings, and other loving adults to participate in interactive and imaginative play with the backdrop of a fun science fiction setting.

If the little one in your life runs screaming and bursts into tears at the thought of being tickled, you might want to leave this one on the shelf. It would not be my first choice as a book to teach reading since the author makes up many words to bolster the silliness of the story. I would not choose it for teaching rhymes either, unless I want to compare instances where the rhyming works against instances where it does not. If you are a lower grades teacher, it could be a fun and playful way to work on body parts like tummy, neck, feet, and toes. The interactive elements would just need to be modified to remove physical contact. “Tickle Monster”, at its core, is best suited for parents and other caretakers with their little charges as a way to play together and bond. Word on the street has it that you can buy Tickle Monster gloves to enhance your story time, too. How fun!
Tickle Monster Inside Peak 2

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