BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
This year marks the 40th anniversary of The Paper Bag Princess – a classic feminist fairy tale by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko. Annick Press has released a special 40th Anniversary edition to celebrate, with forewords by Chelsea Clinton and Francesca Segal and also an additional note at the end by Ann and Robert Munsch providing insights into the original inspiration for the book.
First published in 1980, The Paper Bag Princess turned the fairytale princess stereotype on its head and provided a fresh look at the usual role models portrayed in traditional tales for children. The story features a strong, feisty princess who turns down her prince’s help, taking matters into her own hands as she sets about on a solo adventure, defeats a dragon and then gives the prince a candid appraisal of his own efforts. Since then, this book – hailed as a ‘modern classic’ – has sold over 7 million copies and has been enjoyed in homes and classrooms worldwide.
Princess Elizabeth is a different kind of princess. Her plans to marry a prince are thwarted when a dragon smashes through the castle walls, carries off Prince Ronald and leaves her with nothing but a paper bag. Shedding no tears, Elizabeth is unhesitant to put on the paper bag and set about to free Prince Ronald. In a show of courage and wit, Elizabeth outsmarts the dragons and rescues Prince Ronald. By this point, Elizabeth looks a little worse for wear, and the ungrateful prince is quick to criticize her un-princess-like appeareance. Unfazed, Elizabeth reciprocates the insults and merrily skips off to claim her own happy-ever-after ending without him.
This is an entertaining picture book with a story that provides boys and girls with a role model who is determined, courageous and not afraid to follow her own path. Even forty years after the revolutionary princess first appeared, the ending is still surprising to the modern reader – it is funny, subversive and perhaps a little uncomfortable. Why? Because traditional fairy tales have conditioned our expectations of the happy ending and always will do. But the final illustration showing Princess Elizabeth skip-hopping into the sunset with merry abandon puts to bed any concerns over her choices, leaving instead a happy admiration for this new kind of role model. It seems more fitting than ever – in today’s world of press scrutiny over royal figures who try to choose their own happy ending – to have a Paper Bag Princess earning the spotlight for slaying a few dragons of her own and giving us the positive role model we desperately need.
Thanks to the publishers, we have three copies of The Paper Bag Princess 40th Anniversary Edition to give away to our followers.
There are two ways to enter: 1. Twitter entry – To enter, follow @booksfortopics and RT the giveaway tweet.
2. Instagram entry – Follow @booksfortopics on Instagram & TAG in the giveaway post’s comments a friend who may also like to win this book for their home or school library.
We will give away 2 copies for Twitter and 1 for Instagram. You can enter twice! Giveaway closes 11.59pm 28th Feb (UK) – terms and conditions here.
Many thanks to the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book and providing the giveaway prizes.
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