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The sad, sweet story behind ‘Love You Forever’

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posted on Jan, 17 2016 @ 09:14 AM
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The sad, sweet story behind ‘Love You Forever’


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


If you've had a child or grandchild in the last 35 years, or if you're under 35, you're probably familiar with this children's book... and may have cried when you read it. I sure did! But I was warned. My kids' kindergarten teacher told me to read it to myself before reading it to the kids because I would cry. And she was right.

Or you may have been one of those totally creeped out! I didn't realize there was some controversy about the book until I read this article. No spoilers here, but I'll just say of those parts that creeped some people out, I took it metaphorically, as assurance for the kids that mama will always love them and be there for them. Even my kids never took it literally.

Well, here's the back story, straight from the author himself... and if you're so inclined, you may cry (again?):


“I made that up after my wife and I had two babies born dead. The song was my song to my dead babies. For a long time I had it in my head and I couldn’t even sing it because every time I tried to sing it I cried. It was very strange having a song in my head that I couldn’t sing.

For a long time it was just a song but one day, while telling stories at a big theatre at the University of Guelph, it occurred to me that I might be able to make a story around the song.

Out popped Love You Forever, pretty much the way it is in the book.”


The author, Robert Munsch, gives a little more of the story at his website:


My regular publisher felt that it was not really a kid’s book and I ended up doing it with another publisher.

One day the publisher called up and said “This is very strange. It is selling very well in retirement communities in Arizona. It is selling in retirement communities where kids are illegal. This is supposed to be a children’s book. What is going on?”

“Grownups are buying it for grownups!”


I understand. It was a favorite for me and my kids when they were small; now 30-something, my kids will still occasionally sign a note or card with their own version:


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


So there it is. "Love You Forever" is a love song and tribute to the eternal love for our children.




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