Disclosure: I did not receive any compensation for this review. I borrowed it from the library and some wild child had scribbled all over one of the pages! Cover art is copyright of Scholastic.
Elizabeth is a princess, betrothed to a prince named Ronald. Ronald looks like he could be Elizabeth’s twin. This is some Game of Thrones content if you ask me.
Then one day, a dragon kills her entire kingdom, and carries off Ronald for a later snack. Elizabeth follows in hot pursuit, with nothing to wear but a paper bag. Did they have paper bags back then? Apparently.
Using her wits, Elizabeth does her best to outsmart the dragon. She panders to his ego and encourages him to desolate even more of the land. All for the sake of snooty little Ronald. Meanwhile, her kingdom is turning to ash. Yes, Elizabeth’s methods are questionable, but she still manages to accomplish her goal. Which was also questionable. Thankfully, she learns to sort out her priorities.
This book is all about valuing cunning over style. It does not follow the pretty princess tropes of many picture books. However, I was put out that the book was censored. I read the 25th anniversary edition, where they changed the word “bum” to “toad.” This is most offensive to toads!
‘The Paper Bag Princess’ is best enjoyed on audio, read by Robert Munsch himself. Munsch’s talent for oral storytelling is without peer. He adds repetition, onomatopoeia, and other sound effects, injecting more humour and attitude into the narrative. A must-listen!