________________ CM . . . . Volume XXIII Number 23. . . February 24, 2017



Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Dave Whamond.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2017.
32 pp., pbk., $8.99.
ISBN 978-1-4431-5739-1.

Kindergarten-grade 3 / Ages 5-8.

Review by Ellen Heaney.

*** /4


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:

“You always put in a million braids and you pull on my hair and
it hurts and it takes all day! NO! NO! NO! My hair is OK just to
go out and play.”

     After the obligatory chase, Ashley is pinned to the chair, and a sing-song chant is used to describe the action.

It took two hours because Ashley’s mom braided her hair
back and forth
and back and forth
and back and forth


up and down
and up and down
and up and down


round and round
and round and round
and round and round.

     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.

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

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.
Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
Hosted by the University of Manitoba.

Next Review | Table of Contents For This Issue -February 24, 2017
CM Home
| Back Issues | Search | CM Archive | Profiles Archive