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Posts Tagged ‘Paper Bag Princess’

Here’s another classic picture book with dragons. It was published in 1980, by the author of Love You Forever and other great picture books. His illustration partner for this book was Michael Martchenko.

The Paper Bag Princess features Princess Elizabeth and her fiance, the prim and proper Prince Ronald. Alas, a terrible dragon appears and destroys Elizabeth’s castle. It snatches Ronald, and flies away! The destitute princess sets off to rescue her fiance, with no weapons and wearing nothing but a paper bag (the dragon burned all her gowns when it attacked the castle). Elizabeth succeeds by using her wits, but Ronald is shocked at her undignified appearance. The engagement is over.

These days, we’re accustomed to female characters who defend their own interests, but in 1980 this was a startling reversal of the tropes. It won lots of accolades, especially from feminist groups such as the National Organization for Women. Because attitudes have changed over time, the story has lost some of its punch. Still, you could do a lot worse than The Paper Bag Princess for your child’s bedtime reading.

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