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Jan
19
2015

I love reading to my kids. Sure, sometimes I try to race through the 4,000th reading of “Curious George Does Whatever Because the Man with the Yellow Hat is the Most Negligent Monkey Owner of All Time” but in general, it’s just one of those kids’ activities I enjoy. I get to cuddle with my children while we do something that involves no screens and it feels like real quality time.

But once in awhile I run into a creepy kids’ book. And this one is called “Love You Forever” by Robert Munsch.

Robert Munsch has written a lot of children’s books and one I really love is “The Paper Bag Princess.”  This book is about a kick ass princess who fights dragons and rescues her prince who ends up being a real superficial dud. It’s funny with an empowering princess message.

And “Love You Forever” seems promising at first. It’s about the unconditional love between a parent and a child. How can you go wrong with that?

The books starts off with a mother rocking her child and she sings to him,

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

mom and baby

Sweet, right?

The baby gets older and turns into a 9 year old who drives her crazy sometimes. But at night, she creeps into his room, picks him up and sings the same song.

Okay, that still seems alright.

Then he becomes a teenager. He is definitely driving her crazy but she still crawls into his room at night, picks him up (apparently she is doing a lot of strength training at the gym) and sings him the same song.

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.”

Finally, the teenager becomes a man. He moves out. So what does she do on dark nights? (And yes, the book actually says that she does this on some dark nights.)

SHE COMES IN THROUGH HIS WINDOW WITH A LADDER, PICKS HIM UP AND ROCKS HIM. Here’s the proof….

lady rocking man

So at this point she is guilty of breaking and entering, has some kind of inappropriate obsession with her son, is quite old but has CrossFit strength and her son must be in some kind of drunken stupor to not wake up when someone comes through his window and cradles him at night.

The book goes on with the mother getting so old that the son ends up rocking her. And singing…

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like for always, As long as I’m living my mommy you’ll be.”

old mom and grown up son

And finally, it all comes full circle with the man rocking his own baby daughter and now singing the familiar refrain…

“I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

I’m all about a message of unconditional love. I was thinking about unconditional love this past weekend when my 10-year-old was screaming in my face that it was the “worst day ever” because I was making her go to her brother’s T-ball game for an hour. The truth is no matter how angry I get with her, there is nothing that could diminish my love for her by one morsel.

And I didn’t get this until I become a parent. I knew I would love my kids. I knew I would take care of them. I knew I would protect them. But I never knew my love for them would be bigger and deeper than anything I had ever felt in life.

HOWEVER.

I can assure my children that I will never drive across town on a dark night, climb up a ladder, break into their house through a window, and rock them in their sleep.

First of all, I don’t own a ladder.

Second, they will probably have an alarm system.

Third, their significant other/spouse would probably douse me with mace in self defense because they think I’m some kind of intruder. Which leads me to….

Fourth, I don’t want to get arrested.

Fifth, if I did arrested it would be for breaking into Ryan Gosling’s bedroom.

Sixth, I don’t like lifting weights so my upper body strength is pathetic and I couldn’t lift one of my grown children anyway.

So for all of these reasons, I won’t be stalking my adult children someday.

But I will tell them…

I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, As long as I’m living my baby you’ll be.

Because that is the truth.

kids at miami zoo

 

Note: When I wrote this post, I didn’t know the heartbreaking back story. If I had, I probably would not have wrote it. I still believe the sentiment in this book is beautiful but have never quite understood the breaking and entering/ inappropriate boundaries aspect. A ladder? In the middle of the night? But the idea of loving a child forever is something I can easily relate to. 


29 Responses to “love you forever” by robert munsch: a creepy kids’ book that won amazon’s best children’s books of 2014

  • Penny says:

    I know that people either hate this or love this book. I am in the “love” category and can’t get through the book without crying. I gave each of my children a copy when they were little, they are now 32, 35 and 38 and I promise you I’m not creeping into their windows at night 😉

    (If you read the back story on this book, he wrote it after he and his wife had two stillborn babies and it was his song to them. http://robertmunsch.com/book/love-you-forever )

    • Kelcey says:

      The sentiment of the book is beautiful and the backstory (which you shared) is absolutely heartbreaking. But I still think this book could have had the same beautiful sentiment without the breaking and entering/ inappropriate boundaries aspect. I mean, a ladder? On dark nights? But you’re absolutely right – there are many many people who love this book along with you. 🙂

  • Corina says:

    I cried when I read your post (from laughing). You know what’s weird? I also cry when I read this book to one of my kids. Weird, isn’t it? I cry because it touches me, but I also think it is totally creepy as well…
    A mother’s heart…

  • Carly says:

    I am also in the “love” category. My children are 30, 27 and 26 and I loved reading this story to them. And they loved to talk about how I would always love them, no matter what, even if they were really, really bad, 🙂 and that they would love me forever too, even when they were all grown up. And I don’t have to get a ladder and climb into windows, two of the three just moved BACK home, along with a daughter-in-law and my grandchild! So I can just sneak into their rooms and pick them up! Love your blog!

  • beachmom says:

    I can see both sides..I love this book but also laugh at the creepy sinister side but then go back to loving it again. On a side note I recently request about 15 uber popular highly rated kids books from our library and bar one I hated them all…I was reading thought them going “huh” so sometimes I think certain things drive the popularity of books that make some people swoon and others are left with a huge “what am I missing from this”…its all about perception I guess. PS you should totally start working on your upper body strength so you can scale the walls of Ryan G’s house and report back – not thats a post I need to read 🙂

  • Robin says:

    I COMPLETELY agree with you, Kelcey!!! I’ve been talking about how creepy this book is for years. I’m pretty sure there was a page edited out where the mother bludgeons her son’s wife with a baseball bat before cradling her boy and chanting her endearing refrain.

  • bitsy says:

    Yeah, I mean why couldn’t she just sit next to him on the couch and repeat her lovely refrain with her arm around him? During the day.

  • Victoria says:

    I am a teacher and years ago at a professional development workshop focusing on Children’s Literature this wonderful book was introduced and read aloud by the presenter. At the end of the story we were wiping tears from our faces. Having a brother who is 17 years younger, I shared this book with my mother. She bought a copy and wrote a lovingly, personal message to my young brother. Today, our mother has passed and my brother has his own 4 year old son who is read to every night at bedtime and this book is on his shelf with the handwritten note his grandmother wrote to his daddy so many years ago. I never found it creepy knowing the backstory of the author. As a lover of Children’s books, this is a favorite of mine. Inserting ‘Stalking’ into this precious story really tells me as a reader you lost the specialness of the story..

  • AN says:

    I love Robert Munsch’s books – I’ve been a fan ever since he made an unscheduled stop at our school many, (many, many) years ago. “Mortimer” is wonderful, “I Have to Go” is a favorite of every child I have ever read it to (little boys, in particular, seem to love it!), and the super-indelible-never-come-off-till-you’re-dead-and-maybe-even-longer markers from “Purple, Green and Yellow” are referenced frequently in my world… I could go on and on…but the appeal of “Love You Forever” has always been lost on me. I understand the sentiment but really?? You described the creep factor perfectly!

  • Carmen says:

    Thank You Thank You Thank You for putting into words my feelings about this book. My mother-in-law gave this book to my HUSBAND when our son was born. That, in and of itself, is pretty damn creepy. Yeah, there are a few issues with the mil but I’m thankful she lives many states away. Anyway, I digress, just THANK YOU!!!!!

    • Sarah says:

      Yep, my mil did the same thing, gave this book to my husband as a grown man. And I can totally picture her driving across town and coming in the window. She loves this stupid book. Go figure.

  • Jenny says:

    I had seen this book before but had never thought of it as creepy. Before my younger brother left for college, my mom had given him a copy. No, she wasn’t giving him a heads up that she would be breaking and entering in his dorm room, but that no matter where he is, or how old he got, she’ll always think of him as her baby. She passed away almost 7 years ago, and he’s now married and has a 2 year old that my father has heard him read that story to. I never thought it creepy until reading everyone else’s thoughts, but I have always thought, “how does that tiny elderly lady pick up a grown man???”

  • Carrie says:

    My kids have a copy of this book- the recordable one from Hallmark. I didn’t remember that page, so went and looked and sure enough, the part with the ladder isn’t in it. I was pretty sure I would have remembered that! Too funny!

  • Kristina Dorfman says:

    I’m in the No category and actually gave my two copies of this book away… someone really wanted us to own it and it wasn’t me!

  • Eirin says:

    I know I am incredibly late to reply to this post – Just wanted to add how much we love Robert Munsch stories. Paperbag Princess is awesome as well as Stephanie’s Ponytail, Get Out of Bed and Show and Tell.

  • Zack says:

    hi I’m kinda new to the site since i came across this post by chance when i was actually googling for the image of said book. you know, to be sure i was thinking of the right one. anyway i recently lost my mom, she died last December and this book reminds me of her awfully alot. i understand why some of you ladies may find the book odd, hell even downright creepy but for me when i first came across the book, i was like around 12 or 13 years old. not gonna lie, it made me bawl like a little kid. it still does especially now since she is no longer with us. i think, in my humble opinion, that the book is not supposed to be taken on a literal sense. i mean c’mon would anyone honestly believe a woman of her age can literally lift up and rock a 200 lbs grown man like nothing? no, absolutely not. if anything the book is symbolic, not only is it supposed to convey to us the reader but reminds us, as well, that a mother’s love for her children is unconditional and to appreciate our mothers because you only get one mom in this life. once she passes away, that’s it. no matter how much you cry or lament.. one can never turn back time.

  • Jan says:

    Well, my husband and I always have debated about this book for decades. I always read it as her longing to have her son young again so she “could” hold him. I think it was comical to think she actually did it. But, my husband has ALWAYS said it was creepy and he said if I ever got our teenage kids up to rock them, he would take me to a shrink. He made a FANTADTIC point. Regardless of the extremely sad background, if the character in the story had been a dad rocking his daughter…as a teenager…then breaking into her house to rock her when she was an adult…the hook would have been usedvas evidence to question the author as a possible pedophile. But we allow a mom to have those thoughts about her son without question. My husband has a point. However, two of our adult sons on separate ocassions bought me the book because they remembered I had read it to them. Each one, however, said they never realized how weird the book was when they were young, and they hoped I never became THAT mom to break in their homes.

    I hate that he lost his babies though. This mom, however, dances in our empty nest instead of stalking our adult sons. 🙂

    • robbie says:

      The first time I read this book I thought “if this was about a man and a female child somebody would be getting arrested.” I’m with your husband 100%. Somehow mothers with sons are able to do super creepy things (I’m thinking of some highly inappropriate facebook posts/pictures I’ve seen) and everyone is all “awwww” where if a dad did the exact same thing with his daughter people would be screaming “pedophile!” I get that the book is symbolic and the guy was sad after losing a baby, but come on. You can get that message across without the ick factor.

  • Tammy says:

    I read this to my twin boys when they were little. I LOVE this book! In fact my one twin, his first year at college was away for my birthday and sent me a copy of this book as my gift. I cried so hard because he actually remembered that I read this to them. I don’t think of it as her holding him and creeping in To his house… But more of a symbolization… Of how you take care of them and then one day they will take care of you. Not necessarily physically holding them or them holding you on there lap… And not necessarily sneaking into there house… But just them always on your mind no matter what age. And then one day they seem to parent you. This is just my take on this book.

  • Bridget says:

    I consider this book to be a horror story – and yes, I do know the backstory. It is one of the only children’s books that I would not allow even in my house. Someone gave it to me as a gift, and I would not even donate it to charity. I threw it away.

    To me, this book is perpetuating a “Psycho”, Hitchcockian familial relatonship. When he continues the cycle by singing the song to his innocent baby…..I can’t even think about it.

    Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe, and the Grimm Brothers are less scary to me than this book.

  • Beckey Goforth says:

    I always thought of it as metaphoric, he was grown but in her heart she still felt and did those things. That just my simple opinion. But I did find your article very amusing lol


kelcey kintner


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