Saturday, February 7, 2009

Resourceful, Clever, Unappreciated.

The Paper Bag Princess
By Robert Munsch, Art by Michael Martchenko

Annick Press Ltd., 1980

When a dragon smashes her castle and burns all her clothes, and steals her fiancee, Elizabeth doesn't take it lying down. She pulls herself together and heads off to fix things.

She plays to the prideful nature of most dragons and challenges him to show off, and in doing so she effectively renders him fireless and exhausted, giving her the chance she needs to rescue Ronald.

Ronald, it turns out, is no prize and in a truly ungrateful manner he insults her appearance and tells her to come back when she's dressed like a real princess. The last page of the book makes it for me...

"Ronald," said Elizabeth, "your clothes are really pretty and your hair is all neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum." They didn't get married after all.

The final image shows her skipping off into the sunset. The copy I have of this book is a tiny 3" square book that I treasured when I was younger. I loved the language of the story, the attitude of Elizabeth and her spunkiness and cleverness. The reference to there not being enough fire left to cook a meatball was a particularly funny line to me as a kid, for some reason.

Perhaps if Elizabeth were wearing a paper bag dress like this, Ronald might have been a bit more generous of spirit. This image was inspired by the book and found here.

1 comment:

rachelzana said...

This book is terrifically popular at our house.

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