I hemmed and hawed over which book would be my first blog entry. It came to me as I spent 30 minutes bundling up before heading out to enjoy the first snowfall of the season. What makes it more fitting is that both the author and the illustrator are Canadian –hooray for the home team. Keep reading…
Hanging in every Canadian kid’s closet is a snowsuit; mine was turquoise green. Every morning it would take me at least 15 minutes to bundle up before heading off to school in minus 18 degree weather and snow up to my arm pits (I was a short kid –still am).
Thomas’ Snowsuit written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko, reminds me of the winter ritual of putting on the layers: hats, mitts, scarves, boots, plus the 21 extra layers under your snowsuit.
Thomas refuses to wear his new brown snowsuit: “If you think that I am going to wear that ugly snowsuit, you are crazy!” You can’t help but chuckle at the chaos Thomas causes just getting him into his snowsuit. In one enormous fight, Thomas’ teacher ends up wearing his snowsuit, while Thomas finds himself in the teacher’s dress.
This is a perfect story to share on a cold winter’s day –indoors, with your snowsuit hanging in the closet.
Thomas’ Snowsuit, a children’s book review by Thao Lam
Author Robert Munsch
I was the tallest one in line waiting to get my copy of Thomas’ Snowsuit signed by Mr. Munsch, and this is not saying much, considering that everyone in line was five or under.
I am proud to say that Mr. Munsch is a Canadian. He was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to a family with nine kids. Before he became a writer, he was studying to become a Catholic priest. After giving up his studies in the priesthood, he moved to Guelph, Ontario to look for work as a daycare worker. While there, his wife’s boss, a children’s librarian, encourage him to publish his stories.
His best selling book is Love You Forever, which was published in 1986. He had written it as a memorial for two babies born stillborn to him and his wife; it had been originally a song. His current publisher at the time, Annick Press, refused to publish it so he switched publishers. To date, it has sold more than 18 million copies and counting.
At the beginning Mr. Munsch stayed with families while doing book tours because he couldn’t afford hotels. He soon realized that the families he stayed with were a great source of inspiration. Even to this day, he likes to stay with families while traveling North America telling stories.
I am always tickled pink when an author or an illustrator, takes time out of their busy schedule to reply to a fan mail.
“Thank you Thao.”
- Robert Munsch -
To find out more about Mr. Munsch, please visit his website: www.robertmunsch.com
Illustrator Michael Martchenko
One of my first jobs as an art buyer at the company I currently work for was to commission art from Michael Martchenko. I was so nervous and felt as giddy as a schoolgirl during our first telephone conversation. I think I must have thoroughly embarrassed myself by going on and on about what I fan I was and how much he inspired my art growing up. He was the reason I wanted to be a children’s book illustrator.
Michael Martchenko was born in France; he later moved to Canada and graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design. His first job was as an art director at an advertising agency. His first picture book with Robert Munsch was The Paper Bag Princess.
I love the way he illustrates expressions on the faces of his characters; it really adds to the humor of the story. His illustrations are bright, colourful and funny. They have a wonderful way of filling in what words cannot express.
His style of illustration is very well suited to Mr. Munsch’s writing, and their collaboration on Thomas’Snowsuit is a successful one, and one of many titles they have worked on together over the years.
Publisher Annikins (Aug 23 2007)