He's one of Canada's most beloved and quirky children's book authors. Yet Robert Munsch's book, Love You Forever, has long drawn mixed reactions from parents, many of whom feel the depiction of a mother's undying love for her child is stifling and downright creepy:
I'll love you forever / I'll like you for always / as long as I'm living / my baby you'll be.
This is the nightly lullaby a mom sings to her son through the ages—from his earliest days as a baby through to his teenage years. At one point she even *eek* crawls into his room to sing her grown man to sleep. (Bet the Freudians would have a field day with that one.)
Indeed, Love You is a much more sobering read, lacking the playfulness of Munsch's other stories, such as Mortimer, The Paperback Princess, and Smelly Socks.
But according to an article Pop Sugar, the inspiration for the song (and book) was deeply personal and poignant.
"I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead," wrote Munsch on his website
. "The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn't even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn't sing."
Eventually a haunting song grew into an equally haunting story about a mother's enduring love for her baby. Love You
is a heartbreaking ode to babies who will never be rocked, yet who are deeply loved nonetheless.
It is also a moving account of the cycle of life, and how the tables turn when a parent ages and needs to be cared for by a child.
Are you a Munsch fan? What do you think of this story?