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The Paper Bag Princess
The Paper Bag Princess
by Robert N. Munsch
Illustration by Michael Martchenko

The Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald - who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance.

Age: 4 Year-olds | Title: The Paper Bag Princess  |  Author: Robert N. Munsch  |  Publisher: Annick Press

The Princess Elizabeth is slated to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon, outsmarts him, and rescues Ronald - who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance.

Robert Munsch's The Paper Bag Princess is a hilarious farce of the old-school fairy tales. Although there is a dragon, a prince, and a princess - one of them is surprisingly more modern than the traditional stock character. The pictures add humor and the fun cartoon people and dragon are full of expression, shading, and detail. The plot is not as predictable as it first appears, and both you and your child will be surprised in the end. There is some repetition of concepts and similar phrasing to help young readers follow along and learn the story. The dialogue on each page provides tone inflections and adds to the humor.

The humor throughout the book ranges from children's humor, like when the dragon flies off holding the surprised prince only by his britches, to ironic humor when the only non-burned item the princess, Elizabeth, could find to wear was a paper bag. Elizabeth is a great role model for your little girl, as she is fearless and independent. Elizabeth is not put off that she cannot find any clothes after her castle is destroyed and doesn't mind donning a paper bag dress for the day. She then stomps right after the dragon and knocks on its front door demanding it give back her prince. Elizabeth uses clever tactics to outsmart the dragon and save her prince. However, Elizabeth's final action in the story is the big surprise - and full of humor - as she decides the prince is a 'bum' and she doesn't need him to be happy after all.

Myfriend Molly was initially excited about reading this book solely because it had the word 'princess' in the title. I warned her it was not the traditional princess book, but she still wanted to hear the story. Molly sat through the entire book without a word, patiently listening while sitting in her dress-up princess outfit. When we reached the end of the book Molly looked down at her dress and said, "I can't wear a paper bag because then my skirt would be too short."

--Audra

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