126 of 128 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2003
This was the first Munsch book that I bought and I quickly went out and bought a whole load more. He's an excellent writer with a wonderful range of stories and a beautifully simple and fluid style of writing that is both accessible to children and able to roll off the tongue of most adults.
As you'll see from the other reviews here, this tale is about a young girl who, filled with nothing but courage, charity and a fair bit of brains, goes off to rescue a young prince from a ferocious dragon. After using all of her cunning to defeat the dragon she discovers that the prince is a bit of a monster himself, and so she decides not to marry him after all.
Although I agree that the story has a wealth of small lessons for children to learn about boys and girls and expectations and disappointments, I think that one of its strongest points is that the book serves as a wonderful introduction to the fact that not all stories end the way we expect them to (it's still a happy ending, just a different one) and that sometimes a twist can be more satisfying anyway.
Highly recommended for children from 3 to 103.
91 of 96 people found the following review helpful
on June 14, 2000
Format: Library BindingVerified Purchase
I am so happy I got this book for my four year old daughter. It's the perfect antidote to those unrealistic Disney stories (i.e., Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty). And don't get me wrong, I think that those Disney stories can be fabulous, but the subliminal messages are somewhat 18th century. The Paper Bag Princess, on the other hand is decidely modern. Its message is: if a guy isn't nice to you, he's not worth it, leave him. Really, is there a more important message about relationships that we ought to be sending to our daughters? There are other wonderful messages in here for girls: you are resourceful, be strong. And, as an added benefit, this is a great and funny book, both of my daughters love it. This would make a great gift to all of the young girls in your life (and I think the age range should start at 2, not 4).
44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on March 8, 1998
This charming story reverses the usual roles: a prince is kidnapped by a dangerous dragon, and the dragon's breath burns up all the clothes in the palace. The princess who loves the prince can only find a paper bag to wear when she goes to rescue her love. Cleverly tricking the dragon, she enters the cave where the prince, still beautifully dressed, is held captive. Is true love rewarded? No! He at once complains she's "a disaster" badly dressed, dirty and all messed up. She replies that he is a fine and handsome prince--but completely useless. "And, in the end, they didn't marry."
This book is funny and not at all didactic, quick and easy to read. It's understandable for children from five up, but appeals to adults, too. I've read it to my Guatemalan maid, who was being forced to marry against her will and had just managed to escape the marriage. She loved the book and took it home to read it to her little brother and sister. This is an ideal work to help girls and boys see themelves as equals, to help them realize that marriage isn't the solution to all life's problems, and to understand that boys, just like girls, can be spoiled and foolish. It also suggests that when a boy friend or girl friend is vain and foolish, rather than pining one can look elsewhere for love and understanding. This book should be in every library worldwide!
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2001
As the other reviews have said, this is a very funny and well-written picture book with a great message; however, I would add the caveat that in some situations the anti-fairy-tale ending may be a little too sophisticated for very young children. I read "The Paper Bag Princess" to a group of 3- and 4-year-olds at a day camp, and when I had finished there was a shocked silence, broken by one little girl's whisper, "That was a BAD story!" I would have liked to read it again and talk about it with them, but they all immediately dispersed for the next activity. I should have chosen a different book for these kids, but as a parent (who ends up reading the same books to my daughter over and over again anyway!), I heartily recommend "The Paper Bag Princess."
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on August 13, 2010
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I really love this book and so does my daughter, but I was extremely disappointed in the size of the book. I guess I should have looked at the size, but that's not always something one would look at when purchasing a book online - I know better now. It would help with such items as these to place "pocket size" or "travel size" which usually means that it's small. I have read this book to my daughter and son at night with great difficulty b/c they couldn't see the pictures/book at the same time. I will be re-ordering a bigger size of this book. I guess I should have known by the price as well, but I thought I had found a super-great deal, but found out otherwise! Very disappointed, but partly my fault; should have look at size. Anyway, great read:children and adults will enjoy this book. Check the dimensions!!!!
24 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2005
Format: Library Binding
In a world obsessed with all things Princess this book should be very well received and appreciated by girls everywhere. A terrific story about the feisty, intelligent Princess Elizabeth who treks to save her prince from the nasty dragon only to be received with no appreciation but judgment, The Paper Bag Princess shows girls that they should be respected and appreciated for their inner beauty and strengths including determination, courage, heart and wit and not solely on their outward appearance. This book should be in every girl's library right in the middle of all her fairytale princess books. A little dose of reality is good because a girl needs to know early in life that not all relationships are worth staying in. A woman should give and receive love, respect and appreciation in order for a healthy, satisfying relationship to exist. Remember, as someone once said, "You get what you settle for." Bravo, Munsch!
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 29, 2005
This is a book which appeals to younger readers (2-4), but is better for the 4-8 age group as recommended. I say this because my younger children do follow elements of this story and enjoy it.
This is the story of Elizabeth whose castle is destroyed along with all her belongings and her future husband Prince Reginald is carried off by the Dragon. All which is left for her to wear is a paperbag. So following the trail of destruction she goes to rescue Reginald. When she reaches the Dragons lair she has to trick the dragon to rescue reginald. Interestingly this is almost identical to the story of the Iron man when he challenges the dragon in Ted Hughes' story.
Having freed Reginald Elizabeth is disgusted to discover that he is not too happy with her. Her hair is a mess and she is dressed extremely badly. Luckily Elizabeth has a great deal of fortitude (having proved it already) and tells Reginald (very politely) what he can do with his fine hair and beautiful clothes.
Some nice messages here for discussion with older children (appearance vs substance - good manners and so on). The illustrations are simple but evocative. A nice classic story.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on July 29, 2004
If you are looking for a book with a smart heroine with common sense who doesn't just wait for her prince to save her, you will have trouble beating Elizabeth, the Paper Bag princess. In this story Elizabeth is betrothed to a prince named Ronald. When a dragon comes along and smashes her castle, burns her clothes and carries off Ronald, Elizabeth doesn't just sit crying in the ashes, but decides to go save her love Ronald. Sadly all she can find to wear is a paper bag, so she dons that and follows the trail of burnt forests and horses bones left in the dragon's wake. Through several tricks Elizabeth manages to outwit the dragon and incapacitate him. Ronald however, doesn't seem to appreciate her efforts. His warm welcome to Elizabeth goes something like this: "Elizabeth, you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess." What makes this book one of the best books written is Elizabeth's response "Ronald, your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum."
The illustrations are wonderful. They are bright, colorful, bold and expressive. The dragon is exactly as I would imagine a dragon to look like. The story is told in a very straightforward, simple manner that endears it to me.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on May 14, 2000
I've been reading Munsch since childhood - but re-reading this book for a Children's Lit course was a delight. This book sets a fine example for children (and adults) about the value of role reversal and what it can teach us about the divide between the sexes. In theory, this is too complex for children to understand, yet it does send the message to children that girls can be heroes, too. And unlike the siliconed, pancaked Bond girls, the Paper Bag Princess comes through in fine style.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2012
Format: Board book
I love the original version of this book, but found that the "revised text" edition used in the board book took most of the character out of the story. Examples: "burned all her clothes with his fiery breath" becomes "burnt up her clothes", and a whole page of fun, imagination-inspiring narrative ending with "he was easy to follow because he left a trail of burnt forests and horses' teeth" is revised to end with simply "followed the dragon to his cave."
It seems that there is a fear of using too many big words with young children. Or maybe there is a feeling that parents don't want to be bothered to explain the big words while reading to their kids. Whatever the reason, it's a shame.
The illustrations remain the same as in the original, however. I let my children look at the board book while reading to them from my tiny, dilapidated original version so they can hear a good story.
I highly recommend purchasing the original version of this book, not the board book.