Newest Review: ... 'I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be'. Every night she sings this song. The baby grow... more
sob....love....you...s niff....forever....blu b
Love You Forever - Robert N. Munsch
Member Name: historywitch
Love You Forever - Robert N. Munsch
Advantages: Sweet story about parental love, growing up and the passing of childhood
Disadvantages: Makes me cry every time
I was given this book when my daughter was born by someone who I am sure meant very well indeed. It is after all a best-selling children's book by a much loved author, who also penned the fantastic 'Paperbag Princess' and a whole host of other children's books. Robert Munsch is a Canadian star author who has had an extremely troubled private life but has also been honoured by his country with a star on the Canadian Walk of Fame and membership of the Order of Canada. We own several of his children's books including the fabulous 'Paperbag Princess' which is one of my daughter's favourites.
This book however lurks on the shelf above my daughter's bed and is read only very rarely and never by myself. This is because I am unable to read it without bursting into tears and neither is my daughter, which is not a very calm way to conduct a bedtime routine. Written after the two still births suffered by the author and his wife in the late 70's this book is a tale of growing up, growing older and moving away, of a mother's love and of a child becoming an adult.
It starts with a mother rocking her new baby and gently singing to him, she sings of her love in a little ditty that goes like this 'I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be'. Every night she sings this song. The baby grows up into a toddler with the usual toddler mischief, but every night the mother sneaks into his room, rocks him and sings him the song. He becomes a young boy, a teen and a young man who moves out, but still the mother sneaks into his room at night to rock and sing to him. When he gets a house of his own she takes a ladder with her to get into his room to rock him. The last pages are the most heartbreaking however- the mother is old and sick, too old and sick to rock her son so he rocks her instead <blub>. When he gets home from the visit he stands at the top of the stairs for a minute (I've always assumed she has died at this point and am in bits by now) before going to rock his new baby daughter, singing her the song <wail snort>. It has got to the point that I cannot now even read the first line about rocking the new baby without starting to snuffle <sniff>.
The text is accompanied by lovely illustrations of the mother rocking her child, preceded by pictures of the child at various ages doing stressful things. The message throughout is that childhood goes so fast, yes it is stressful and tiring and disgusting and you have to handle body fluids and worry constantly but it doesn't last. Children grow, they leave, they become parents of their own children and you age and eventually leave them to get on with it. But the love that you feel for them doesn't pass, even when they are at their most frustrating and it continues in their own love for their children.
Its a lovely book to use to talk to children about various things such as love, growing up, moving out and death, reassuring them that you will still be there but that this is the way that life goes. My daughter was very reassured by this book when she was younger, she could see the path that life was going to take and how a child eventually turns into an adult. It also showed her how important and powerful the love of a parent is. However as she has got more sensitive as she has got older this book upsets her now and after the second time of finding her hysterically sobbing over this book ('the mummy dies, mummy!'), it has been confiscated and is waiting for my husband to read it to her little brother.
This book is certainly not one to be given to a hormonal very new mother, but a mother with an older child will be able to get a lot of pleasure out of this book, its certainly one that has made an impact on me. Hopefully they will be able to read it to their children without the floods of tears that accompany readings in this house! Its recommended reading age is 4-8 but my daughter got most use and comfort out of it at a younger age, she also was less aware of the fact I was getting teary reading it! I think she was two and half when I first read it to her. My husband thinks I am crazy for my reaction to this book and reads it quite happily, without even a sniff. It is nice that it features both a male and female parent and both a male and female child - so many children's books feature mummy in the main role, which isn't fair on all those involved fathers out there. Looking at the reviews on the internet it seems that this book is most often given to mothers and older parents rather than as a gift to children, which is understandable I suppose given its message, but I prefer it as a children's picture book.
I'm not usually a fan of sentimental children's books like this, we have 'lost' four copies of 'Guess how much I love you' for example as I hate it; this one is sentimental but also powerful so it gets four stars. It loses one as it made my daughter cry and NO ONE gets to do that!
The book is available for the RRP of £4.99 but Amazon have it for £3.43 at the moment.
Summary: Lovely children's book, just wish I could read it aloud