The Paper Bag Princess

Munsch, R., & Martchenko, M. (1980). The paper bag princess. Buffalo, NY: Annick Press.

Robert Munsch's story is about how a princess's eyes are opened after all her material belongings are burned by a fiery dragon.  There’s nothing like a riches-to-rags-to-true-riches story to break the mold and the outcome of this damsel in distress.  Princess Elizabeth learns to value herself by outsmarting the dragon and saving her prince, but none of these come to fruition until she’s stripped of all she values and can only rely on a paper bag for cover. Martchenko's illustrations compliment the story and use lines to convey the dirty, dusty, grimy, and fiery scenes throughout the story and Elizabeth's transformation.  It makes her change tangible and her victory over the dragon sweeter. In the end, Elizabeth learns something valuable about appearances and true beauty.

Children, especially little girls, can learn a few things about the values of beauty and intelligence. This can be the story that enlightens daughters everywhere when media only clouds their small little brains with superficial beauty.

Teachers, this can also be a great story to teach character development. In conjunction with plot, teachers can also teach how a dynamic character goes though a meaningful change and attains personal growth.