________________ CM . . . . Volume XVII Number 18. . . .January 14, 2011.


Too Much Stuff!

Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto, ON: North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, 2010.
32 pp., pbk. & hc., $7.99 (pbk.), $19.99 (hc).
ISBN 978-1-4431-0245-2 (pbk.), ISBN 978-1-4431-0244-5 (hc.).

Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.

Review by Natalie Schembri.





So when Temina came to the airport, she was carrying ONE doll and ONE toy.

She was also carrying a backpack that had 20 dolls and 20 toys in it, but her mom did not know about those 20 dolls and 20 toys. Temina got her little sister to help her stomp and cram and squish the dolls and toys till they fit into the backpack.

Robert Munsch’s story, Too Much Stuff!, unleashes a colorful and comforting collection of dolls and toys from the young Temina’s “stomp[ed] and cram[med] and squish[ed]” bubblegum pink colored backpack. The large and beloved sum of dolls and toys, 37 of each to be precise, is difficult for Temina to part with on her first airplane trip to Grandma’s house. Although her mom explicitly states “One!” […] You can bring just one toy,” Temina is insistent on having her entire collection accompany her on the airplane trip.

     Michael Martchenko, illustrator of Too Much Stuff!, vividly depicts the explosive array of toy robots, dinosaurs, dump trucks, plush bunnies, doll houses, and plastic tea cups throughout the pages of Munsch’s story. Temina has secretly packed her backpack with 20 dolls and 20 toys, disregarding her mom’s specific instructions to bring one of each, unaware that these dolls and toys will serve an incredibly comforting and cheering function throughout the duration of the airplane flight for the other children aboard.

     Too Much Stuff! uses repetitive and emphatic language to engage children in a playful storytelling process. Further, the use of large, capitalized, and bold typeface on selected words in the story encourages readers to place emphasis on Temina’s challenging endeavor to bring her dolls and toys aboard the airplane. The repetition anticipates the subsequent lines in the story and creates a lively read-aloud storytime to accompany Martchenko’s colorful imagery.

     Munsch describes a child’s cherished relationship with her dolls and toys and her ability to graciously extend the warmth and comfort associated with these precious possessions with other children. Temina provides young readers with a valuable impression regarding the wonderful act of sharing with others and the heartfelt and humbling feelings associated with acts of kindness. When Temina receives three dolls in the mail, she makes readers enthused about the process of sharing with others.

     internal artI would highly recommend Too Much Stuff! for public and school library collections. This illustrated book provides young readers the opportunity to enthusiastically engage with Munsch’s entertainingly rhythmic language and Martchenko’s attractive imagery as they journey alongside Temina on her toy-filled adventure to Grandma’s house.

Highly Recommended.

Natalie Schembri, a Masters student living in London, ON, like Temina, travels with too much stuff.

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

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