________________ CM . . . . Volume XIV Number 14 . . . . March 7, 2008


Look at Me!

Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2008.
28 pp., pbk. & hc., $6.99 (pbk.), $19.99 (hc.).
ISBN 978-0-545-99431-6 (pbk.), ISBN 978-0-545-99430-9 (hc.).

Preschool-grade 4 / Ages 4-9.

Review by Carrie Subtelny.

*** /4

Robert Munsch has written more than 40 books, including Love You Forever, We Share Everything! and Alligator Baby. Undoubtedly, he is Canada’s best-selling author for juveniles. His stories are beloved by children, parents and teachers because he writes about real issues in funny terms.

     Munsch’s latest picture book is written in typical ‘Munsch style’ – a whimsical tone trailing a whimsical tale in which Madison, a creative and seemingly independent child, who, having requested a ‘really real’ picture to be painted on her cheek, is unprepared for the zany consequence. Each of Madison’s requests for help is met with disbelief and nonchalance from the adults. Consequently, Madison has to take matters into her own hands, and she unearths a solution that does the trick.

     When Madison’s grandmother comes to visit her and her parents, the pair decide to go for a walk downtown where Madison finds a ticket for a free face-painting session. Madison approaches the table where the hippy-style, face-painting volunteer is planted and requests a ‘really real rose’ to be painted on her cheek. The face-painting artist creates a ‘really real’ masterpiece, and Madison is more than proud. However, the ‘really real’ painted rose begins to grow, along with Madison’s concern. Madison’s father ignores her cries for help while Madison’s mother denies there is anything wrong. Madison’s grandmother tries to help, but it’s no use (especially when a ‘weed whomper’ is considered!). So Madison, covered with body art ‘extraordinaire,’ takes matters into her own hands (literally) and creatively solves her problem…although unintentionally passing it on to someone else!

     Look at Me! is a delightful story that is complemented brilliantly by Michael Martchenko’s illustrations. The illustrations cover each right hand side of the book (top to bottom) and simple vine trails are found on each left hand side, trailing the page numbers. The text, itself, carries cadence and rhythm as phrases repeat throughout which also add to the voice and vine-growing momentum of the story.

     This book was also shared with two students, one in grade 3 and the other in grade 8. The grade 8 student wanted to consider it for her younger siblings. Both enjoyed the book (especially the pictures) and agreed that is was ‘cool’ how the parents didn’t really listen to their daughter. The grade 8 girl actually laughed at this because she liked the truth of ‘parents not listening.’ She seemed to be able to relate this to her own life. Look at Me! is a charming tale that all Munsch fans will long to have on their shelves – library, classroom, bedroom and greenhouse included.


Carrie Subtelny is a presently working as a Reading Clinician at the Child Guidance Clinic in Winnipeg, MB.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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