I kind of grew up on Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess. It was a story that I was introduced to rather early on and one that followed me for at least a few years. It was the first book I ever read that promoted female strength in such a way, which I suppose was immensely important considering everything else I grew up around. And still, I don’t think I was able to fully appreciate this book until I finally reread it as an adult.
The Paper Bag Princess tells the story of Princess Elizabeth whose life is, at least on paper, perfect. She’s engaged to a Prince, she has all these fancy clothes and a castle, and she runs a kingdom. And when a dragon one day comes, he burns her castle and fancy things to the ground and takes off with her Prince, no doubt intending to gobble him up. All Princess Elizabeth is left with is a paper bag.
Thus our story truly begins:
And so, rather than despair, Elizabeth sets off to fight the dragon and get her Prince back. Spoilers ahead, but fair enough this book has been out for a long time, after outsmarting the dragon it seems the prim Prince no longer wants Elizabeth now that all her riches have been burned and she no longer has a kingdom. He is, in fact, so rude in the light of her saving him all because he has this notion that his Princess should be clean and beautiful–she’s covered in ash and wearing a paper bag, after all–that Princess Elizabeth decides he’s not worth marrying after all.
Princess Elizabeth knows her own worth measures far higher than this Prince can determine.
It’s such a wonderful tale with an amazing message. I truly think The Paper Bag Princess will live on as a timeless story. Having just celebrated its 40th anniversary, that of its publication of course and not when it was first imagined as a tale that the author merely told aloud, it’s amazingly a book that is still relevant today. This is the sort of tale I will always love to share with any young girls I know.
This is an important book, an important story. And I expect it to live on for quite a while.
I was provided a free copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.