The Paperbag Princess by Robert N. Munsch
Robert Munsch is probably Canada’s most well known children’s book writer. What child did not grow up on Thomas’ Snowsuit or Jonathan Heard A Noise…
But the Paperbag Princess, Munsch’s very first picture book, has sold over 3 million copies and is his best known story. He developed the stories over many years while working at a daycare. I am not a fan of many of Munsch’s stories but this one is great. The smoothness of the story, the repetition and the twisted ending make this one of my favorite books ever.
Elizabeth, a beautiful princess, lives in a castle and wears fancy clothes. Just when she is about to marry Prince Ronald, a dragon smashes her castle, burns her clothes with his fiery breath, and prince-naps her dear Ronald. Undaunted and presumably unclad, she dons a large paper bag and sets off to find the dragon and her cherished prince. Once she’s tracked down the rascally reptile, she flatters him into performing all sorts of dragonly stunts that eventually exhaust him, allowing her to rescue Prince Ronald. But what does Prince Not-So-Charming say when he sees her? “Elizabeth, you smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess.” Princess Elizabeth makes a wise decision and does not marry Prince Ronald after all.
Michael Martchenko’s scratchy, comical, pen-and-ink drawings capture the tongue-in-cheek quality of this read-aloud crowd pleaser. (Ages 4 to 8)