Robert Munsch takes on a different view of the knight in shining armor concept. Written in 1980, The Paper Bag Princess flips the tale of a princess, her prince, and a dragon onto its head.
Princess Elizabeth is a pretty girl who prepares to marry the practically-perfect Prince Ronald. Suddenly a dragon arrives and thwarts these plans, burning all her clothes and kidnapping Ronald. Princess Elizabeth takes matters into her own hands and with only a paper bag to wear, sets out to rescue Ronald. She tricks the dragon and finds Ronald, but to her surprise tells her she’s a mess and that she can rescue him when she looks more like a princess. Not one to risk her life only to be insulted, she tells Ronald he’s a bum and leaves to live life the way she wants.
The story is fun and the end makes for a funny and surprising little twist. While it can be fun for boys, The Paper Bag Princess is extra fun for girls as they learn to take a stand on their own and what it means to respect yourself for who you are and not what others think. Girls can be inspired to be like Princess Elizabeth, confident and willing to take on big tasks. Mothers and daughters, even fathers and daughters, can have a good time reading this The Paper Bag Princess together.
Like many children’s books, the slightly cartoony illustrations by Michael Martchenko are cute and brightly colored. The sight of a Princess wearing only her crown and a paper bag will make kids giggle, as well as the image of the exhausted dragon after Elizabeth tricks him.