Here we are in January, so how do we shake the winter doldrums? Read Robert Munsch books to a bunch of kindergartners!
Typically, I review new young adult books; however, I would like to introduce you to this wonderful children's author. Munsch loves telling stories, working with young children and listening to their tales. This former day care teacher has been entertaining young children with delightful tales of boisterous, resourceful and somewhat rowdy children.
Although he was born in Pennsylvania, he made his way to the north country and has become one of Canada's best-selling children's authors. He was virtually unknown here in America until he wrote "Love You Forever," which topped The New York Times' best-selling children's books list in 1994.
So many of his books are favorites of mine; however, "Mortimer" is the one all the kids love. This is a story about a little boy named Mortimer who does not like to go to bed and prolongs going to sleep by singing his "Clang, Clang, Rattle-Bing-Bang" song. Every time he sings his song, someone new comes upstairs to tell Mortimer to "Be Quiet!" The "Clang, Clang, Rattle-Bing-Bang" song becomes the familiar refrain used throughout this repetitive, riotous story, and if you sing it just right (which doesn't take much) the children you read to will sing with you.
Oh, they can participate in other ways, too - footsteps up and down the stairs, different voices for characters - but it is the magical song that becomes a carefree anthem. Of course, Robert Munsch performs his masterpiece the best. To hear his rendition, go to Munsch's home page, and under the books tab, you can look up "Mortimer."
You will get the option to listen to this story, sound effects and all. A caution, however: It may be difficult to get children to stop serenading you with this jaunty tune, and you might be asked to read and re-read this book several hundred times! Michael Martchenko's distinctive and colorful illustrations add the finishing touch on this rip-roaring read.
Audience: Preschool through primary grades.
Sue Engel is the library director at Horace Mann Middle School in Wausau.