CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 17. . . .January 8, 2010.
The Paper Bag Princess.
Robert Munsch. Illustrated by Michael Martchenko.
Toronto, ON: Annick Press, 2009.
26 pp., board, $6.95.
Preschool / Birth-age 3.
Review by Kristen Ferguson.
A beautiful princess named Elizabeth was going to marry a handsome prince named Ronald.
But a dragon came and burnt up her castle, burnt up her clothes, and carried off Prince Ronald.
Elizabeth put on a paper bag that wasn’t burnt and followed the dragon to his cave.
Robert Munsch’s The Paper Bag Princess is a fairy tale with a twist that has delighted children and adults for decades. Readers relish in the story of the heroine Elizabeth who refuses to be a damsel in distress and instead uses her cunning intellect to trick a dragon and save Prince Ronald. Elizabeth fools the dragon by asking him to show off all of his dragon-like abilities, such as breathing fire and flying fast. The dragon becomes so exhausted that he falls asleep, and Elizabeth rescues Prince Ronald from the dragon. Ronald, however, is very unappreciative and tells Elizabeth that she is a mess and does not look like a real princess. Elizabeth is very unimpressed with Ronald, and unlike most fairy tales, The Paper Bag Princess ends with the phrase, “They didn’t get married after all.”
In this new board book version, the original story of The Paper Bag Princess is shorter and simplified for preschool readers. Michael Martchenko’s original pictures also illustrate the story in this edition for young readers. Munsch’s plot and the humour remain intact in this new version, and toddlers will still enjoy the classic lines, “But you are a BUM!” Readers will also take pleasure in the different coloured and sized fonts as well as illustrations within the text which are interspersed throughout the book. This makes telling the story to youngsters fun and also helps emergent readers follow along as they listen to the story. A board book format for this new version is ideal as this is story which will be read again and again and will be able to last for years of enjoyment.
This simplified board book version of The Paper Bag Princess introduces preschoolers to the magical world of stories by Robert Munsch. Like the original, this version will be sure to charm young children and is a must-have for any preschool library.
Kristen Ferguson teaches Language Arts at the Faculty of Education at Nipissing University and is a doctoral student in Education at York University.
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