Primary Genre(s): Children’s Picture Book
Published: 1 May 1980 by Annick Press
My Format: ebook via Hoopla
Would I recommend it: Yes
Commission Link: Buy The Paper Bag Princess
My rating: ★★★★★
Synopsis from Goodreads
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.
I haven’t reviewed a picture book in a while so I thought I’d give this one a go. Slight spoilers ahead… it is hard to review a picture book without some plot details. Here are my pros and cons for The Paper Bag Princess:
- Princess Elizabeth is resourceful! When the dragon destroys her castle – along with all of her clothes – she covers up with the only thing she can find… a paper bag!
- Princess Elizabeth has skills! She knows how to follow the dragon’s trail of destruction to locate his lair.
- Princess Elizabeth is smart! She uses her brain to outsmart the dragon by using his pride against him. After he proves to her how strong and fierce he is over and over and over, he is exhausted and falls asleep, allowing Princess Elizabeth access to his lair.
- Princess Elizabeth has self-worth! Prince Ronald shows his true colors and is rude to Princess Elizabeth as she is rescuing him from the dragon. So she decides she doesn’t need someone like Prince Ronald after all.
- The story is simple and understandable, the illustrations (by Michael Martchenko) are well done, and I think girls and boys can learn a lesson from this tale.
- Just one… I wish the dragon didn’t destroy so many forests!
I’ve noted that people see this as a feminist story for children. I disagree to a certain extent because I think the message is less about girl power (although Princess Elizabeth is totally awesome!!!) and more about self-respect. While I did love that the roles were reversed and it was the Prince that needed to be saved for a change, overall I see this as a story that teaches a child that respect for others and self-respect is important. This story could have been the Paper Bag Prince, and if a princess had made similar critical remarks at the end, I would have applauded the Prince’s decision to break up with her, also! I think it is important to teach all children (boys and girls) that they do not have to be with someone that doesn’t appreciate their efforts, criticizes their appearance, or is disrespectful to them. They don’t have to settle for less and this book definitely reinforces that message!
If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Paper Bag Princess. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!
Click here for a description of my rating scale.
(image from Goodreads)