________________ CM . . . . Volume XIII Number 9 . . . . December 22, 2006


No Clean Clothes.

Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2006.
32 pp., pbk. & cl., $6.99 (pbk.), $19.99 (cl.). ISBN 0-439-93790-6 (pbk.), ISBN 0-439-93791-4 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
T-shirts-Juvenile Fiction.
Kissing-Juvenile Fiction.
Animals-Juveile Fiction.
Preschool-grade 3 / Ages 4-8.
Review by Karen Kiddey. 

*** /4


When I was five, Grandma gave me a shirt that said CUDDLY WUNKUMS, and everyone laughed at me.
Now I am six, and Grandma gives me a shirt that says KISS ME – I'M PERFECT. I am NOT wearing that shirt to school. Only a grandma would choose a shirt like that.
"Now Lacey," said her mom, "just wear it for this morning. I will wash a shirt and bring it
to school at recess."

Lacey is in a predicament. All her clothes are dirty, and she is forced to wear another one of what she refers to as her "Strange Grandma Presents" to school. She sets off on her day with trepidation but discovers that her potentially embarrassing shirt emblazoned with the slogan "KISS ME – I'M PERFECT"  seems to have magical powers. To her delight, she begins to receive special slurpy kisses and pecks from the neighbourhood wildlife, progressing from a kitty cat, to a large dog, to an even larger bald eagle, to an even more monstrous moose, to the most surprising of all---a giant bear who plants a humongous kiss on the top of her head!


     Young readers will enjoy the gross details as Lacey gets slimed by a moose, and worst of all, receives an unwanted smooch from a boy, a kiss that she feels compelled to scrub off her face until the recess bell rings! In typical Munsch fashion, the story builds, providing a bigger and funnier surprise on every page. No major messages here, just a comical turn of events that children will find amusing. Lacey's "loser" shirt turns out to be the stuff of legend, and there seems to be a bit of green slime everywhere to keep young readers giggling.

     Martchenko's comic-style watercolour illustrations complement the hilarity of Munsch's story. The drawings provide a sense of place with their backdrop of British Columbia flora and fauna – killer whales arc through the air, and we glimpse at mountains and evergreens while a bald eagle gives Lacey a nose-buffing. It turns out that Munsch, the quintessential kid lit storyteller, has spun the fun around a true life account told to him by a girl named Lacey in Stewart, BC, about a day when recess had to be cancelled because there were grizzly bears strolling about in the school playground.

Karen Kiddey is a librarian at the public library in Selkirk, MB.     

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

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