________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 15. . . .December 10, 2010


Put Me in a Book! (Tell Me a Story).

Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2010.
32 pp. (Includes a DVD), pbk., $15.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-0080-9.

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Valerie Nielsen.

**** /4


Hailey's class is returning from a trip to the lake when who should they pass by but man sitting on a bench scratching his head over a large book.

"Hi," said Hailey. "What are you doing?"

"I'm trying to finish this book," said the man. "It's a picture book but I don't know what kid I am going to use in the story."

"Wow!" said Hailey. "Can you put me in the book?"

"Are you absolutely sure you want to be the kid in this book?" said the writer.

"YES!" said Hailey.

"WONDERFUL!" said the writer and he picked Hailey up. Folded her and flattened her, and stuck her in the book.

internal art     Although, as the teacher says, it is a great honour to be in a book, Hilary finds that being folded and scrunched and trapped and stuck in a book is no fun at all. After several crazy Munschian efforts (including photocopying) to free her fail, one of her classmates comes up with the perfect solution: they could free Hailey by changing the ending! With Hailey on the loose, she loses no time changing the ending again:

And then the writer wrote himself into a book. He could not get out and was stuck there FOREVER!

     Apart from the imprisoned author, everyone is happy, particularly the librarian who loves having a writer in the library.

      The wildly popular author/illustrator team of Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko have come up with yet another irresistibly wacky tale for the four to seven-year-old bunch. According to Munsch, the history of Put Me in a Book goes back to a book he wrote long ago for a young fan named Dawn who asked the vital question: "What if you put a kid in a book and the kid wanted out?" That original book became a sort of generic story into which could be inserted the names of kids in the classes to which Munsch was sent or visited. Of the many personalized stories that students sent back to Munsch, one from a Grade Two class in North Bay entitled "The Book" caught his attention. These creative kids had taken his story and added photos of themselves, photos which inspired the artist enough to team up with his award-winning colleague Michael Martchenko to produce their latest collaboration.

internal art      Put Me in a Book is a "Read it again!" book, a giggle fest for young listeners and just about as much fun to read as it is to listen to. Scholastic has packaged the book together with a CD featuring Munsch reading his tale for $15.99. For adult readers who may have a shortage of time or energy (or a tired voice box), playing the CD is a perfect way to give young listeners a chance to hear the story again (and again, and again!)

Highly Recommended.

A retired teacher-librarian, Valerie Nielsen lives in Winnipeg, MB.

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

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ISSN 1201-9364
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