Popcorn and a Book (14): Bunch of Munsch

The Book: Jonathan Cleaned Up Then He Heard a Sound—Or Blackberry Subway Jam;  Written by Robert Munsch (Annick Press, 1981)

The Video: Bunch of Munsch: Blackberry Subway Jam; Directed by Greg Bailey (CINAR, 1991)

Does anyone else remember the Bunch of Munsch animated TV series? It was a series based on Robert Munsch’s beloved children’s books. Well, I was feeling a bit nostalgic today and decided to make a Popcorn and a Book post about them (even though they weren’t movies). One of my favourite Munsch books is Jonathan Cleaned Up Then He Heard a Sound—Or Blackberry Subway Jam, perhaps because it doesn’t receive as much attention as some his other titles. Anyway, this book was one of the ones recreated for the small screen. I found the clip on YouTube and thought I would share it with you all so that you too may be taken back to the 90s. The sound quality isn’t the best but the video is cute and catchy. Enjoy:

I am pretty impressed by how closely the animation is to Michael Martchenko’s illustrations. All the characters are pretty spot on to those in the book. One of the things I love about the videos in the Bunch of Munsch series is the little ditties (I can still sing the chorus to 50 Below Zero’s theme even though I haven’t seen the video in a decade). The “Black Subway Jam” song might not be that great of a song but it’s undeniably fun.

Given the choice between the book and the video though I would still take the book, especially when it’s being read aloud (even more so when it’s being read aloud by Robert Munsch). Munsch’s books are fantastic to read aloud with all the repetitive words and sounds. They just cry out to be read with enthusiasm. And kids get to know the lines and love to read (or yell) them along too. Trust me, I know from experience. My brother used to yell at the top of his voice “Clang, clang, rattle, ding, bang” whenever he listened to the audio version of Mortimer.

I think the Bunch of Munsch videos are great to watch after you’ve read the books. But I’d still choose a Munsch book over a video any day of the week.

“Popcorn and a Book” is a bi-weekly meme I host where I will compare one book with its adapted film, looking at the content, the way it has been visualized, the experience, etc. If you would like to participate in this meme, please visit the “Popcorn and a Book” main page for details.

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