Photo Credit: Alex Urosevic, Toronto Sun
Lessons from our favourite storyteller
Josephine Murphy, Associate Opinions Editor
“Ronald…you look like a real prince, but you are a bum,” declares the Paper Bag Princess as she breaks off her engagement to her useless fiancé. “Hey, you dumb pigs!” baits Megan to a pen full of pigs, who promptly respond by trampling her. “I’ll love you forever,” a young mother sings to her newborn baby. “You don’t have a brain in your heads,” retorts Stephanie, in response to her pathetic classmates who copy her hairstyles.
That literary rollercoaster comes from none other than the beloved, best-selling children’s author Robert Munsch, who disclosed, in a recent interview with CBC, that he is suffering from dementia. “I can’t drive, I can’t ride a bicycle, I can’t write. So it’s been really whittling away on who I thought I was,” stated Munsch.
The unfortunate news saddens fans across the world, who have been reaching out on social media in support of the author. With over 100 million books sold worldwide and a spot on Canada’s Walk of Fame, the 76 year old writer has played a significant role in households, schools, and libraries across Canada and abroad.
Munsch’s statement that, “the stories will be the last to go” certainly strikes a chord with fans, who remember his tales not only for their hilarity, but also for their cheeky wisdom. After revisiting some of his most iconic stories, I’ve attempted to compile a short list of what I believe are some key insights—moral takeaways, if you will—from Mr. Munsch.
#1: Character is more important than what you wear or how you look: you can wear a paper bag and still be royalty, or you can look like a prince and still be a bum.
#2: Be respectful, even to animals—or they might trample you.
#3: Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, until it isn’t. So be original.
#4: Words carry weight. Be careful what you promise, or you’ll have the Qallupilluit to reckon with.
#5: Value what you have because a real house is better than a playhouse, and real parents are better than play parents.
#6: Life is a cycle. One day you’ll be singing the same songs as your mother, so enjoy every stage along the way.
These are just a few of the many lessons imparted to us by the Canadian author. Similarly, we all have a story to tell and our own lessons to share; if only we could be fortunate enough to have the talent and insight to share them half as well as Robert Munsch.
Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this article are that of the author. They are not necessarily representative of the views and values of The Mike or the University of Toronto.