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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Robert Munsch: Horror Writer Extraordinaire

My question to you: What is the scariest children’s book you’ve ever read? For me, the question is simple and I still shiver at the thought. It happens not only to be the scariest children’s book, but also the scariest book I’ve ever read.  Presenting, Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch.

Oh you think this is a joke? Have you read the book? Recently? Here’s a YouTube clip. Skip ahead to the four minute mark (4:06). That’s when this creep-fest really gets underway.  Go ahead, I’ll wait ….. 

SEE!!!!! Hey, don't blame me if you're locked in your closet right now. I tried to warn you. Granted the narrator in this particular video adds a bit to the creep-factor, but even on mute I screamed.

Let me tell you right now, I love my mom but if she loaded a ladder on her car, drove to my house and climbed in through the window of my bedroom to pick me up and rock me on her lap … I’d be scrambling for the silver bullets and wooden stakes (that’s assuming my wife didn’t get to them first). 

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a dig at Robert Munsch. If anything this is just more evidence of his genius. Horror writers are most effective when they catch readers off guard. You read Stephen King and you expect that something’s going to happen in the book to make you squirm. But Robert Munsch built a persona of a gentle children’s author and then, Bam! he hits his unsuspecting readers with this depraved bomb-shell.
I applaud you, Mr. Munsch. Well done. Well done indeed.

Okay, guys, let's hear it in the comments section. What the scariest children's book you've read?


Alisha Souillet said...

Okay, I'm familiar with this book. However, I was told by my family, friends, strangers at the bookstore, that this is infact the SADESS book you will ever read. These people (mentioned above) said that I would bawl like a baby, that I wouldn't be able to get through it without tearing up.
They were wrong. Didn't shed a single tear.
I agree with you Steven, 100% it's just a creepy book. But I will say, that it's caught kinda a sweet side to it too.

Jun said...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA bests book review

Ben Sloan said...

Awesome! Mine was Sylvester and The Magic Pebble. This donkey gets a magic pebble that grants him wishes, but when he's scared by a lion he wishes he was a rock to protect himself. It works, but then since he's a rock he can't pick up the pebble to wish himself back. Basically the rest of the book is him being cold and lonely and his parents weeping over their lost son.

I've always thought if I failed as a novelist I'd try my hand at childrens books, but I'd make them ostensibly fun while secretly working to scare children as much as possible, thus getting my revenge on the world.

Ben Sloan said...

(Not that I could really write children's books. It takes a special talent, and besides that I can't make it three pages without a murder or two.)

Honey said...

LMAO right now! I don't think I have a book that scared me that way. It was more that children's prayer you used to say right before bedtime. Ya know the one that goes:
Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep. (My soul to keep? What's that mean?--Remember, just a kid here.)
If I should die before I wake, (Wait just a second---I don't wanna die!! You mean I might die in my sleep? What's going on here?)
I pray the Lord my soul to take. (Who is this guy that wants to take my soul? What's a soul?)

You have to remember we were just kids when we recited this nightly prayer. I didn't want to go to sleep. I was afraid some guy (not really knowing who the hell the Lord was at the time) was going to come and suffocate me while I tried to sleep and take my soul (what ever that was) away from me. I was bound and determined to keep my soul--I would figure out what it was later. I just knew it was mine and I didn't want anyone taking it away!!

I was so impacted by this lullaby prayer that I never, ever taught it to my girls! Can ya blame me?? So there you have it... my fear of a small prayer. Go ahead, laugh away! Just try going to sleep tonight with that prayer in mind!

Nina Powers said...

Ok so, let's move past the awkwardly inappropriate, and yes, superbly creepy actions of the mother and imagine the sequel...
The boy has a daughter at the end, and we are lead to believe he will take the prompt from mommy-dearest and continue the family tradition. Twenty years from the end of the book, the daughter is in college. After a particularly rowdy frat party, she returns to her room with a particularly rowdy boy, who drives her 'craaaaaaaaaazy'. Daddy-dearest drags his ladder across town to his daughter's dorm window...
I think we've entered V.C. Andrews territory here and I refuse to carry this thought further.

Steven Whibley said...

HA! great comments, guys. I'm starting to think there are a lot of creepy children's books/nursery rhymes out there. Case-in-point: Rock-a-bye baby.

Rock-a-bye, baby/In the treetop/When the wind blows/The cradle will rock/When the bough breaks/The cradle will fall/And down will come baby/Cradle and all

I mean who are these crazy parents who are putting their babies in trees? I'm not a parent yet, but something tells me I should avoid doing that.

Steven Whibley said...

@Ben, I just read the "Sylvester and The Magic Pebble" book. I'm totally buying that one. Perhaps I should have a bookshelf in my house of bed-time-story books to read when my kids are being bad.

Donna K. Weaver said...

ROFL - you made my day.

Alisha Souillet said...

So I commented the last time before watching the video... Yep way creeper with the narration. But if you watch it until the end, and see the credits. Mr. Robert Munsch is infact the narrator. To me, he is now, way, way creepier!

And OMG you are so right about Rock A Bye Baby... They lyrics are disturbing.

Carrie said...

Yes! Finally, someone agrees with me! My nephew used to love this book and I always warned him the pages would wear out. lol Well done, Steven. I always thought this book deserved a disclaimer. ;)

Anonymous said...

I've bemoaned the fact that childrens fables nowadays are too sugar coated.

Jack and Jill? They fell down a hill and split their heads open. Little Red Riding Hood (my personal favorite children's horror story) had a grandmother that got eaten by a wolf. And don't get me started on Hansel and Gretel or Ring Around The Rosie.

Remember Bear and the Big Blue House? This large grizzly bear would open the door and sniff the children before telling them they smelled delicious. Don't believe me? Google it on YouTube.

That said, even for a horror writer, this Robert Munsch piece creeped even me out.

Christy McCall said...

I had horrible memories of reading that book to my kids. It was so sad - I wish I had thought of it as creepy because it would have been more fun to read!

This nursery rhyme always weirded me out:

Lady Bird

LADYBIRD, ladybird, fly away home;
Thy house is on fire, thy children all gone,
All but one that lies under a stone;
Fly thee home, ladybird, ere it be gone.

Ashley Nixon said...

OMG!! I remember this book. :/ Didn't realize how creepy it was until I got older. lol!

The children's book that really was creepy when I was younger and probably now, I can't remember the name of. : / so much for that. I can remember the illustrations very creepy!!

Steven Whibley said...

@Carrie - A disclaimer would be funny. Perhaps something along the lines of: "Caution: This book, while safe for children, may cause adults to experience bouts of extreme night terrors."

@Drlong67 - I'd never seen that Bear in the Big Blue House before, thank you for pointing it out! ;)

@Christy - I've never heard that ladybird rhyme before, but it is creepy indeed. I am starting to wonder if nursery rhyme writers have a special hate on for kids.

@Ashley - I'm the same way. I had fond memories of this book until I heard it again when I was an adult.

Sneha Sunny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sneha Sunny said...

great narration!! LOL.

April said...

I don't really recall any scary children's books. Perhaps my mom didn't read me any scary books. I can't watch youtube at work, so I guess I'll take your word for it on this one. I also haven't read any scary ones to my daughter, so....although right now we're reading the children's adaptation of The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood...and in the beginning he kills one of the King's men. And my daughter didn't like the ending of Charlotte's Web. But it's not scary so much as sad.

Paul Joseph said...

I had issues with MISS NELSON IS MISSING. For years, I was convinced every mean substitute I had was my nice teacher in disguise. Of course I shared my theory with other kids, so needless to say, I they thought I had issues.

sonia said... the son grows up and has a baby daughter..
Imagine him doing the same thing to his "baby" !?!?
Ain't that much moreeee scarier????

fEMmpower - said...

Mathew and the midnight tow truck by allen morgan .... it's like a pedophile's grooming book ... creepy

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