In at number 9 of my top 10 favourite picture book therapeutic stories is “The Paperbag Princess. Here are 10 intersting facts about it.
1. The Paper Bag Princess is a children’s book written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko. It was first published on 1980 by Annick Press.
2. The plot centres around the beautiful princess Elizabeth who lives a vey privilege life inside the walls of her castle. She is engaged to be married to the handsome prince Ronald. She believes she will live happily ever after until a fire breathing dragon burns all her clothes and kidnaps her handsome prince. She has nothing to wear, so she dons a paperbag to conceal her nakedness. She cleverly outwits the dragon and rescues her handsome prince. Prince Ronald who is a narcissist is appalled at her appearance. He tells her not to come near him until she has transformed herself back into a beautiful princess. She responds by calling him a bum, gives him his marching orders and dances off into the sunset.
3. The book turns gender stereotypes on its head which considering when it was published in 1980’s shows how progressive Munsch was.
4. Although this is a feminist fairytale it also transcends gender. The book shows children how to be resourceful, have humility, have confidence and most importantly know when to walk away from a bad situation.
5. Robert Munsch first told the story to a group of children in a childcare centre in the early 1970s.
6. It was Munsch’s wife who gave him the idea. She suggested getting the princess to rescue the prince.
7. The original ending had Elizabeth’s punching Ronald in the face. The ending was considered too violent so in the end she calls him a bum and walks away.
8. It has sold over three million copies world wide.
9. In some international editions bum was changed to toad.
10. The last line is “they didn’t get married after all.”