Sunny's bookshelf
Sunny's bookshelf photo by Judy Solomon

Online book reviews since 2011, the very best in reviewing – connecting good readers with equally good writers

The Paperbag Princess, A twist to the knight and princess tale.

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko is a humorous fairytale that takes the idea of the knight in shining armor and gives it a modern twist. Elizabeth seems to be your normal everyday princess complete with a castle and “expensive princess clothing.” Martchenko makes it perfectly clear through his illustrations that Princess Elizabeth is smitten with her betrothed, Prince Ronald. If her clenched hands and expectant smile isn’t sign enough about Princess Elizabeth’s feelings toward Ronald, then the floating hearts around her head give her away. Unfortunately, Prince Ronald seems less interested, facing in the opposite direction with his eyes closed, aloof and uninviting. Like almost all fairy tales a dragon interrupts this one-sided romance, burns down the princess’ castle and all her clothes, and steals Prince Ronald. Princess Elizabeth is left with only a paper bag to clothe herself and sheer determination to get her beloved prince back.

The illustrations in themselves are worth a moment or two of reflection. In one picture the newly bagged princess glares down at the scorched earth that serves as a trail to the dragon’s lair far off in the distance. The princess’ expression along with her singed hair and warped crown are enough to make anyone laugh out loud. But the real jewel in this story is the message Munsch offers to his readers, in particular, young girls.

The Paper Bag Princess
The Paper Bag Princess

The story itself smacks of reality when it comes to those princes we’ve all chased after and fought dragons for only to find out that they neither reciprocated our devotion nor valued us for the right reasons. Despite Princess Elizabeth’s attire and homelessness, the dragon still recognizes her as a princess. Prince Ronald, however, refuses to do so as she is not “dressed like a real princess.” Munsch poses this question to his readers: What makes a real princess? The story would suggest that brains, bravery, and boldness all constitute part of the makings of a real princess.

“The Paper Bag Princess” is a terrific story with a relatable heroine for people of any age. Princess Elizabeth’s story may not have the happy ending you’d expect from a fairytale that involves a dragon and a prince, but it will leave you with a sincere smile on your face.  – Aubrey Siino

Also available by Robert N. Munsch: Love You Forever; Stephanie’s Ponytail; Smelly Socks; Mortimer; I Have to Go; Andrew’s Lose Tooth; Mud Puddle; We Share Everything; Mmm, Cookies; Alligator Baby; Makeup Mess; Aaron’s Hair; Muriel, Muriel, Muriel; Braids; Boo!; 50 Below Zero; Pyjama Day!; A Promise is a Promise; So Much Snow; I’m So Embarrassed; David’s Father; Wait and See; Zoom; Jonathan Cleaned Up – Then He Heard A Sound; More Pies; Moira’s Birthday; Put Me In A Book; Seeing Red; No Clean Clothes; Class Clown; Ribbon Rescue; Get Out of Bed; Just One Goal; The Boy in the Drawer; Give Me Back My Dad; Finding Christmas; The Dark; The Sandcastle Contest; Playhouse; Mood; Up, Up, Down; Bear for Breakfast.

Bookin’ with Sunny strongly supports Independent Bookstores and Public Libraries.

 

Add your thoughts and comments...

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Shopping in-store is back!

Support your local community’s economic growth by shopping for books
at your independent bookstore in person, online at their website, or by phone.

Recent BWS Reviews

About the Reviewer

Sign up for reviews by email

You’ll get email updates from Bookin’ with Sunny when we add a new review or blog post, and we never share your email with anyone else.

Skip to content