The Paper Bag Princess
name = The Paper Bag Princess
language = English
release_date = 1981
media_type = Print (
pages = 32
isbn = ISBN 0-920-23616-2
"The Paper Bag Princess" is a children's book written by
Robert Munschand illustrated by Michael Martchenko. It was first published on 1 May 1980by Annick Press. The book reverses the princess and dragonstereotype. As a result, it has won critical acclaim from feminists, including an endorsement from the National Organization for Women, which sells the book on its website.
"The Paper Bag Princess 25th Anniversary Edition: The Story Behind the Story" (2005), a full-color hardback, reveals the inspiration behind the book. It features an interview and behind-the scenes with the author, and offers a look at the book's impact around the world.
Princess Elizabeth was planning on marrying Prince Ronald, who was practically perfect. Then along came a dragon, who destroyed her kingdom, kidnapped Ronald, and burned all her clothes so that she had no choice but to wear a paper bag. She tracked down and outwitted the dragon. She challenged the dragon to burn forests with fire and to fly around the world. The dragon completes the tasks but after flying around the world a second time becomes tired and falls asleep. Elizabeth then saves Ronald. He didn't even thank her and told her to come back to marry him when she looked more princessy. Then Elizabeth realized what a bum Ronald was, and went off to live her own life. The dragon then comes to realize how despicable Ronald is, and that he is not even worth being eaten by a creature as noble as himself. So with one burst of flame, he sends the obnoxious prince scuttling back to his castle. Elizabeth is now free to live out the remainder of her life exactly the way she wants, including whether to marry another prince, or someone else, or not at all.
At 18 years old, the beautiful princess is at the age when princesses are to marry. Many suitors gave their shot, but the arrogant Prince Ronald shook off all competitors and became the self-proclaimed fiance for the princess. However, he does not even love her and only wants to marry her for the fame and glory that comes with having a princess for his wife. In the end, Elizabeth realizes this, and leaves him to enjoy her own life.
At 20 years old, Ronald is a handsome, stalwart prince who is the heir to the throne. He has picked Elizabeth for his queen, even he does not really love her. When the dragon attacks his castle and kidnaps him, Elizabeth sacrifices greatly to go to rescue him, but he does not appreciate the love she has shown him. Elizabeth finally realizes that their is no place for her in his heart, so she deserts him and goes off on her own, perhaps hoping to find another man who will love her in return.
He is the typical depiction of the
European dragon, with green scaly skin, an alligator belly, two small wings, and four scaly feet with eagle talons. Like all dragons of myth, he can breathe fire, which puts him at the very top of the animal food chain and makes him superior even to mankind in the medieval time period that the story is set in. His flames are extremely powerful and he seems to have an infinite supply of it. In the plot, he attacks Prince Ronald's castle and kidnaps him. Elizabeth rescues him, but is then rejected by the prince. The dragons then chases the prince away and Elizabeth befriends him as she begins her new life in search of a new suitor who will return her love.
* [http://www.robertmunsch.com/books.cfm?bookid=27 "The Paper Bag Princess" at RobertMunsch.com]
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