Since I had my daughter, it seems that I’m slowly re-reading stories I read as a child. The result wasn’t favourable in one instance. Since then, it has made me a bit weary. There’s no reason to be with The Paper Bag Princess. I loved it as a child. As an adult, whenever it came up, it still gave me a good feeling, though I couldn’t remember exactly what it was about.
Well, let me tell you… It is about a girl, Princess Elizabeth, who is brave, resourceful and intelligent. Robert Munsch did an incredible job in creating a princess who is not a “damsel in distress”. When Princess Elizabeth’s belongings are destroyed and her fiancé kidnapped, she finds something (a paper bag) to wear and goes to rescue him. She doesn’t fight the dragon with a sword and kill him. She uses her mind and tricks the dragon. She rescues the prince, but all he seems to care about is how she looks; he’s not even grateful for being rescued. Well, the princess decides he’s a bum (or a toad if you’re in England) and doesn’t marry him.
I think Robert Munsch sets a great example for young girls. The girl can be the hero. You don’t have to use violence to defeat the bad guy. Just because a guy is good looking, you might think he’s a prince, but he could actually be a terrible person and you don’t really want anything to do with him. These are messages which are often lost on young girls.
I hope I’m not gushing. I love this book. I have nothing bad to say. The story is wonderful. The illustrations are great. They’re signature; they let us recognize The Paper Bag Princess without words. Every parent should read this to their children, sons and daughters alike.
*A note on the edition:
I bought a couple copies of The Paper Bag Princess for the loot bags for my daughter’s first birthday party. The Paper Bag Princess along with a few other of Robert Munsch’s books are available in mini-editions (3.5x3.5 inches) from Chapters.Indigo for about $1.99. You can’t seem to order them online, but trust me, there are a bunch in the stores. You can order a few online at Amazon (for $1.99), but not The Paper Bag Princess, sadly. I just think they’re great for travel, so you always have a cute little story for your cute little baby.