Telling stories is what Robert Munsch does — and loves best. From the first time he stood in front of a group of children as a student teacher at a nursery school in 1972, his jaunty, animated presentation grabbed hold of the imaginations of his listeners and he hasn’t let go since.
Before he puts a story to paper, Munsch spends up to three years telling, revising and fine-tuning the tale in front of his rapt audiences. “I figured out once that the stories the kids kept requesting came to two percent of my total output,” he says. But once he discovered how to capture the spontaneity of his narratives in written form, he was on his way to being a successful and sought-after author.
Munsch has published dozens of books in both Canada and the United States. His first efforts, The Mud Puddle and The Dark, were published in 1979 and the runaway bestseller Love You Forever was first published in 1986. All of his characters are believably spunky, stubborn and endearing children, while his story lines tend to challenge conventions and stereotypes.
Munsch describes his stories as “middle of the road taboo.” When he uses words like pee and underwear, “the kids go absolutely bananas.” As for the parents, “Eighty percent think it’s really neat; the other twenty percent ask, ‘How could you?'”
Robert Munsch lives in Ontario, Canada, and continues to perform his own tales — often without advance notice — for day care centers, schools, and libraries.