________________ CM . . . . Volume xxi Number 15 . . . . December 12, 2014


Pyjama Day.

Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2014.
26 pp., pbk., $7.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-3917-5.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

*** /4


internal artRobert Munsch sticks to his tried and true formula in this new book. He published The Mud Puddle in 1979, and, over 50 books later, he is still relying largely on the folkloric formula of repetition and the rule of three (“Then the second little billy goat…”) to move his plots along.

     It’s Pyjama Day at school, a time when all the students and teachers can come to class in their nightwear. Andrew’s father determines that Andrew needs new pj’s for the occasion. Andrew feels, smells and tastes three different pairs of pyjamas before deciding on a brightly patterned one piece affair. He says they are “the Perfect Pyjamas”.

     They turn out to have unusually soporific qualities as, when Andrew puts them on, he falls fast asleep and will not wake up. There is consternation among the principal, the doctor and Andrew’s parents as they shake and prod and examine Andrew to see why he is still sleeping. Finally Andrew’s mother takes off the pajamas, and he wakes up, without realizing how long and how soundly he has slept.

     Mother tells everyone that it was the Perfect Pyjamas that made Andrew sleep.

“That’s crazy,” said the principal. “I say there is no such thing
as Perfect Pyjamas, and I am a principal so I know everything
But just to be sure, the principal decided to try them out.

     Of course, the Perfect Pyjamas put the principal to sleep too.

     Andrew’s mother makes Andrew some real Perfect Pyjamas that only make him fall sleep when he is in bed.

     The last page of the book shows the principal in his office, still sleeping amidst a crowd of kids who are making as much noise as possible.

     Michael Martchenko’s signature illustrations accompany the story.

     Some of us love him, some of us are more lukewarm (I have sometimes thought that there is some sloppy self editing of Munsch’s texts), but it cannot be denied that Robert Munsch is an iconic Canadian storyteller.


Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.

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

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