CM . . .
. Volume XXIII Number 23. . . February 24, 2017
Robert Munsch, every Canadian schoolchild’s storytelling icon, appears to have another book to his credit. In fact, Braids is a reissue of a story first privately published in 2009 as a fundraiser for Children of Bukati, with illustrations by the Grade 3 students who workshopped the idea with Munsch.
Ashley, a little girl who is black in this version of the book, is trying to avoid having her mother braid her hair. She voices her objections this way:
After the obligatory chase, Ashley is pinned to the chair, and a sing-song chant is used to describe the action.
After this, it is mom who gets the same treatment from grandma (it takes four hours to achieve her beautiful head full of braids), followed by the unfortunate teacher. Her blond hair, which does not seem to be quite so adaptable to the style, takes six hours to transform into a corona of spiky little braids that she proudly shows off to her students.
Rather than featuring the art of long-time collaborator Michael Martchenko, in the 2016 book, Munsch’s words are backed up by the bold graphics of Calgary illustrator Dave Whamond. There is a lot of colour and action in these unsophisticated illustrations with characters who are all depicted as having large open eyes and somewhat rubbery limbs.
Without being able to consult a copy of the original edition, it is not possible to know whether or not the text has also been changed in any way.
Recommended not because this is a great book – it is a retread of what we have read many times from this author – but because kids cannot seem to get enough of Robert Munsch.
Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, BC.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.