Kathryn's Reviews > The Paper Bag Princess

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
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Jan 31, 09

bookshelves: childrens-picture-books
Read in January, 2009

I give this three stars because it was originally written in 1980 when there wasn't as much in the way of "feminist fairy-tales" as there are today--so, gotta give Munsch props for that! I like that our heroine is plucky and resourceful. However, two things really bugged me--

***SPOILERS***
1st, was it Ronald or Elizabeth who was being false before she came to rescue him--i.e., did she originally pretend to be a proper princess, or was he just hiding his jerky-ness? Their split seemed a bit sudden (though I can't blame her!)

2nd, did one of Elizabeth's methods for exhausting the dragon really have to involve burning dozens of forests? I know this was written nearly thirty years ago, but certainly even then it was distressing for a dragon to destroy hundreds of trees, and potentially harm lots of wildlife living there.

I know, that is reading a lot into the story, but, still... I guess I'm just disappointed as I wanted to like this SO much as I know it's really popular.
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Comments (showing 1-8 of 8) (8 new)

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Kathryn Yes, I totally appreciated that aspect of the book. I think it was especially important in the '80s when there weren't too many books like this. I guess I'm just hoping that, today, we have lots more options available for our "little princesses" to read about strong, independent women who don't need men or make-up to make them complete or happy! ;->


message 2: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan Oh dear. I don't remember those parts. I guess I wouldn't like it as much now.


message 3: by Lisa (new)

Lisa Vegan I think your points are excellent too, Chandra!


Ronyell Great review Kathryn! I was also upset a bit at how Ronald treated Elizabeth after he saved his life. Makes me wonder about what the message of the story really is.


Kathryn Ronyell wrote: "Great review Kathryn! I was also upset a bit at how Ronald treated Elizabeth after he saved his life. Makes me wonder about what the message of the story really is."

Thanks for sharing, Ronyell. It's always great to hear different perspectives, but then also good to know I'm not alone in mine ;-)


message 6: by Cass (new) - added it

Cass I want to say that you are reading far too much into a children's book... but I really agree and I love the talking points.


Callie Rose Tyler To the first point, can't Elizabeth be both a proper princess and get dirty to save the day? Her actions don't mean that she was 'being false'. This also does not mean that the prince is 'being false' sometimes you never know a person until you see how they react in extreme circumstances or in difficult times...that's why people get divorced. And to your second point, it's a fairy tale, lots of distressing things happen in fairy tales. Witches eat children and people hack their body parts off. Also hyperbole is often a characteristic of fairy tales, people sleep for hundreds or years or walk thousands of miles. You of course are still entitled to your points and opinions, just adding my own two cents.


Kathryn Thanks for shedding a more positive view on the tale, Callie. I might have to revisit this one and see if my views have changed over time. I am a huge fan of fairytales, even fractured ones or inventive new ones, but I just wasn't a fan of this on first reading.


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