One of my favorite picture for children is “The Paperbag Princess. Click on the link above to see the full story. 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.”
Characters: Three storytellers, Monkey, Giraffe, Lion, Kangaroo, Crocodile, Penguin, Monkey, Camel, Frog, Pig, Squirrel, Ant.
Storyteller 1: Once upon a time a long time ago.
Storyteller 2: All the animals in the world decided to have a big party to celebrate the midsummer.
Storyteller 3: It was a midsummer party and all the animals in the world were going.
Storyteller 1: From the tiniest ant to the enormous elephant.
Storyteller 2: The animals arrived Two by two.
(Everyone sings the animals arrived two by two hurrah hurrah.)
Storyteller 3: Eventually, all the animals had arrived.
(Monkey is ticking off the all the names as the animals enter. He has a click board and looks very official. Giraffe is the look out.)
Monkey: Is that everyone?
Giraffe: I think so, I can’t see anyone else coming.
Lion: Well, let’s get this party started. Welcome, everyone to this party to celebrate the
midsummer. I hope everyone will have wonderful time tonight. I want to introduce the band. Back by popular demand all the way from the Jungle. I would like to introduce our band- the animals.
(Everyone cheers, and claps Elephant is playing her trumpet with his trunk, the bear is playing the drums with his feet. Other animal musical instruments.)
Storyteller 1: Everyone danced and chatted and had a merry time.
Kangaroo: Stop the music. I just noticed that the camel isn’t here.
Crocodile: Never mind him, he is so grumpy.
Penguin: He couldn’t be bothered coming.
Giraffe: No wait, I see something coming up in the hill in the distance.
(Monkey climbs up the tree.)
Monkey: It is the camel and he doesn’t look very happy.
(The camel trundles up the hill very slowly)
Penguin: We should be very welcoming to him, when he arrives.
(Camel eventually makes his way up the hill.)
Animals: Hello Camel, welcome to the midsummer’s eve party.
Lion: Come and join us.
Camel: (sighs and wipes his brow.) This better be a good party. I have come an awfully long way.
Frog: It will be wonderful. Let’s play a game of leap frog,
(All the animals jump over one another.)
Pig: That was fun but now let’s play piggy in the middle.
(All the animals throw a ball and the pig tries to catch it.)
Storyteller 2: Everyone had so much fun.
Storyteller 3: Then the dolphins performed a lovely water display.
(Music is playing.)
Monkey: now it my turn to show my contemporary dance.
Storyteller 1: The monkey danced, and all the other animals were impressed.
(All the animals cheer and clap when the monkey is finished.)
Pig: That was amazing.
Frog: You are such a good dancer,
Camel: Harrumph! What’s all the clapping and cheering about. Anyone can dance like that.
Kangaroo: That’s not true. The monkey is a very good dancer.
Ant: You are such a grumpy all hump, Camel.
Elephant: You are just jealous Camel, everyone knows camels can’t dance.
Camel: Of course, Camels can dance.
Monkey: Go on then, show us how camels can dance.
(The Camel slowly makes his way to the middle of the circle. All the animals are staring at him and there is a deafening silence.)
Penguin: Band, Music please.
Storyteller 1: The band started to play, and the camel started to dance.
Storyteller 2: It was the most peculiar dance they had ever seen.
(Camel gives a sideways hop and wiggle and then falls over and he bashes into the band and the music stops.)
Squirrel: Watch where you are going.
(The camel does a high kick and hits the kangaroo.)
Kangaroo: Ouch. (Kangaroo starts limping.)
Storyteller 3: The camel swings his tail and the rabbit is knocked to the floor.
Storyteller 1: Then, he nearly trod on the ants.
Ant/s: Oh, my goodness. Somebody stop him before he kills us.
(The camel is so clumsy that all the animals scatter to the far side of the stage.)
Lion: (roars) Stop! Stop Camel.
Camel: But I’m in the middle of my dance. Can’t you see I’m the best dancer here.
Storyteller 1: Then, the unimaginable happened.
Storyteller 2: He stood on the lion’s tail.
(All the animals freeze.)
Camel: Is it just me? But I get the feeling you didn’t like my dance Lion. (Looks around.) why is anyone clapping.
Pig: Your dancing is ……horrible.
Camel:(hangs his head) I must admit that it wasn’t as fun as the monkey’s dance. (Looks at the monkey) You dance very well, Monkey.
Monkey: Thank you. You have special talents too. You can walk for miles without water and you can give everyone rides on your hump.
Kangaroo: Everyone has a talent.
Lion: The world would be a strange place if we all good at the same thing.
Camel: I guess you are right. Well who would like on my hump.
All animals: Me.
Camel: Hop on then.
Storyteller 1: The camel smiled with pride and pleasure.
Storyteller 2: The moral of the story is
Storyteller 3: Everyone is good at something.
For more animal play scripts click on the link below.
The following poem can be used in a variety of ways: The practionner could read it at story time or the children could act out or mime the different parts for fun or in front of an audience. They could also be recited. Each child could learn four lines each and they could recite it as a choral piece. These stories help children with their vocal expression and give them an understanding of rhythm.
The Lion and the Mouse
There was a lion who lived in a cave.
He was extremely big and terribly brave.
The lion was not frightened of anything
Because he was the fearsome jungle king.
One day he was asleep near his house
When he was woken by a little mouse.
The lion grabbed the mouse with his large paw
He licked his lips and opened his wide jaw.-
The little mouse looked at him with sheer dread –
He didn’t want to be some scrumptious spread. –
“Squeak, squeak, Mr. Lion do not eat me
Some day I will help you so let me be.”
“You help me,” he said “I don’t think so
But I’m not that hungry, so off you go.”
One day while hunting deep in the jungle
The lion tripped over and took a tumble.
Suddenly he was stuck in an evil trap
The other animals began to clap.
He saw some grey elephants and he cried:
“Elephants, please help me I’ve swallowed my pride.”
“Oh Mr. Lion we will not help you
So how does it feel to be in a stew?”
The elephants said with extreme delight
And off they trundled into the dark night.
The lion waited and a few hours passed
Then out of the blue he saw some giraffes
“Giraffes, Giraffes,” he said, “please, please help me.”
The Giraffes looked at him and decided to flee.
He was extremely hungry and very cold
He was terribly tired and feeling less bold.
When all of a sudden down by the lake
He heard the hissing of a slimy snake.
“Snake, please, please help me I’m stuck in a trap,
I feel confused and I’m all in a flap.”
The snake hissed: “Jungle King I must admit,
You really do look like a proper twit.”
Snake laughed and laughed and felt real good
And away he slithered into the deep wood.
The Lion felt a sense of despair’
He was stuck outside in the cold night air.
Then all of a sudden out from his house
Came the patter of the little brown mouse.
“Pardon Lion I’m not one for prying
But please tell me why you are crying?”
The lion told the mouse his whole story
In all its wondrous gruesome glory.
The little mouse began to gnaw and gnaw
The scary lion sat there full of great awe.
At last, the lion roared: “I’m FREE I’m free.”
With that he invited the mouse home for tea.
For more rhyming plays click on the link below:
Characters: Two Storytellers, Clara, Godfather, Nutcracker Toy, Three Mice, Mouse King, Six Soldiers, Sugarplum Fairy, Arabian Princesses, Chinese Tea Dancers and Flower Ballerinas.
Storyteller 1: Once upon a time there lived a girl called Clara. It was Christmas Eve.
Clara: (looks out the window) It is snowing. It is dazzling white except for that golden light coming from my house.
Storyteller 2: Her parents were having a Christmas Eve party.
(Clara’s godfather walks in and greets everyone.)
Godfather: Merry Christmas, Clara. (He gives Clara a hug and a large Christmas present.)
Clara: Thank you very much. I’ll put it under my Christmas tree.
Storyteller 1: That night, when everyone had gone to bed, Clara crept downstairs as quiet as a mouse.
Clara: I’m so excited to open my present from my godfather.
(She opens the present.)
Clara: It is a Nutcracker Toy. What a wonderful present. I’m so tired. (She yawns.) I’ll just have a quick nap under this Christmas tree.
Storyteller 2: Bong, bong; the clock struck midnight.
Clara: My goodness, the tree is rising above me.
(Nutcracker Toy comes to life and starts moving.)
Nutcracker Toy: Hello, Clara.
Clara: The Nutcracker Toy has come alive.
Nutcracker Toy: I’m the nutcracker prince.
Clara: What are you doing here?
Nutcracker Toy: I’ve come to protect you.
Clara: Why do I need protecting?
Nutcracker Toy: The kitchen mice are plotting to kidnap you. (He blows his whistle.) Never mind, these six soldiers are here to help you.
(The soldiers march by.)
(Mice follow the soldiers into the room.)
Mouse 1: There she is.
Mouse 2: Let’s get her.
Soldier 1: We must stop the mice.
Soldier 2: Use these lumps of cheese and fire them at the mice.
Soldier 3: Spray them with water.
Mouse 3: Help us, help us.
(The Mouse King enters.)
Mouse King: Is this the best you can do? (He whips out his sword and points it at the nutcracker prince. They have a sword fight.)
Clara: I must help the Nutcracker Toy. (She takes off her shoe and fires them at the Mouse King.)
Mouse King: Something has hit me. (He collapses and is out cold.)
Nutcracker Toy: You saved me, Clara. I must thank you.
Storyteller 2: The Nutcracker Toy called his reindeer and sleigh.
Reindeer: Your sleigh awaits, Prince.
Nutcracker Toy: Jump on board, Clara.
Clara: Where are we going?
Nutcracker Toy: It is a surprise.
Storyteller 1: They flew through an open window and into a snow-filled sky. Eventually, they arrived at their destination.
Clara: Where are we? Look, the trees are made of lollipops and the flowers are made of marshmallows.
Nutcracker Toy: This is the land of treats.
(They get off the sleigh.)
Nutcracker Toy: Clara, come. I want to show you something. This is the marzipan castle. It is decorated with ever kind of sweet you can imagine.
(He knocks at the door.)
Sugarplum Fairy: Welcome. I’m the Sugar Plum Fairy. I’m so glad you could make it. Please come inside. Make yourself at home and eat anything you want.
Clara: I’ve never seen so many cookies, cakes and candy.
Storyteller 1: Clara and the Nutcracker Toy ate to their hearts’ content.
Storyteller 2: Once they had finished all the food, they were entertained by the Arabian Princesses (the Arabian Princesses come out and dance to music), Chinese Tea Dancers (the Chinese Tea Dancers come out and dance to music), and Flower Ballerinas (the Flower Ballerinas come out and dance to music.)
Clara: This is an amazing place. I’ve had an amazing time.
Nutcracker Toy: Clara, it is time to go home.
Clara: Thank you for a wonderful adventure.
Reindeer: Hop on.
Storyteller 1: The next morning, Clara woke up underneath the Christmas tree.
Clara: Where am I? I’m underneath the Christmas tree. (She picks up the Nutcracker Toy.) Where is the prince? It must have been a dream … unless it was the magic of Christmas Eve.
For More Fairytales on Stage, click below, only $0.99.
Characters: Three storytellers, the crocodile, the crocodile’s wife and the monkey.
Storyteller 1: Once upon a time there lived a crocodile that lived in the river Ganges in India.
(Crocodile enters stage swimming slowly.)
Storyteller 2: On both sides of the Ganges there were large music fruit trees.
Storyteller 3: A monkey lived in one of the trees. He ate fruit all day.
(Monkey mimes eating fruit.)
Monkey: These fruits are so delicious and juicy I’m so lucky to live in a fruit tree.
(Crocodile sits under the tree for shade.)
Crocodile: It is very hot I think I will sit under this tree and sleep in the shade. (Looks up.) The fruits on tree look so delicious. I wish I could climb the tree and pick some.
Monkey: (climbs down from the tree) Since you are resting under my tree, you are my guest. Please come and taste some of my delicious fruits.
Storyteller 1: The monkey plucked the juiciest fruit off the tree and gave it to the crocodile.
Crocodile: Oh thank you Monkey you are so kind.
Monkey: You are welcome. Come again, any time.
Storyteller 2: Soon, the crocodile came every day. They would eat the fruit and talk to one another for hours.
(Crocodile and the monkey mime having a conversation and eating lots of fruits.)
Storyteller 3: One day as the crocodile was leaving to swim home. The monkey gave him some fruit.
Monkey: Crocodile give these fruits to your wife. I plucked them especially for her.
Storyteller 1: The crocodile swam home and gave the fruit to his wife, She was very happy.
(Crocodile swims home and gives his wife the fruit.)
Crocodile’s wife: These fruits are delicious. I have never tasted such sweet fruit in all my life. Where did you get them from?
Crocodile: I got them from my friend the monkey. He lives in the fruit tree so he knows which ones are the sweetest.
Crocodile’s wife: Does the monkey eat fruit every day?
Crocodile: Yes, only the sweetest and juiciest ones. Why do you ask?
Crocodile’s wife: Because that means his heart must be so sweet. If I eat his heart I would remain young and beautiful forever. You must steal the monkey’s heart and give it to me.
Crocodile: But he is my good friend. He is my only friend. It would be unfair for me to steal his heart.
Crocodile’s wife: (gets angry) If you loved me you would do it.
Crocodile: Do not get anger my dear, I will do as you wish.
Storyteller 2: The next day the crocodile swam to the riverbank and reached the tree where the monkey lived.
Monkey: Crocodile, you are late today. I thought you weren’t coming.
Crocodile: My wife has made a meal for you. She has invited you to tea because she wants to thank you for giving her your beautiful sweet fruit.
Monkey: That’s very kind of her but I’m a land animal, I can’t swim.
Crocodile: We live on a sand bank just jump on my back and I’ll take you there.
Storyteller 3: The monkey hopped on the crocodile’s back and away they went.
Monkey: Slow down, Croc. You are going too fast.
Crocodile: I’m sorry Monkey but I have to go fast because my wife wants to eat your heart for her tea.
Monkey: Oh Croc, you should have told me this before we left. I always keep my heart in the hollow of the tree for safe keeping.
Crocodile: I’ll take you back to the tree and you can collect your heart.
Monkey: That would be great.
Storyteller 1: Crocodile turns and swims back to the tree where the monkey lives upon reaching the bank the monkey jumps off the crocodiles back and clambers up the tree. After a while the crocodile says…..
Crocodile: Monkey, you must have found your heart by now. My wife will get angry if we don’t arrive soon.
Monkey: You are so foolish crocodile. Don’t you know your heart is within yourself? It was a trick to save my life. Now leave my tree and never come back again.
Storyteller 2: The crocodile left empty handed.
(Crocodile’s wife looks very angry.)
Storytellers: The moral of the story is at times presence of mind pays well.
For more plays based on Animal Stories click on the link below.
Characters: Three narrators, Little Fir Tree, Squirrel, Sun, Hare, Two woodcutters, Wind, Swallow, two children, Woman, Man.
Narrator 1: Once upon a time, there was a little fir tree.
Narrator 2: He was not very happy that he was so little.
Narrator 3: He wanted to grow big and tall.
Little Fir Tree: Oh, I wish I was tall like all the other trees.
Squirrel: You should be careful what you wish for.
Sun: Try not to grow up so quickly. You should enjoy the sunshine and the wind blowing freely through your branches.
Hare: Look on the bright side. I can jump over you because you are so little.
Little Fir Tree: I want to grow up and see the world.
Narrator 1: Every autumn, woodcutters would visit the forest.
Woodcutter 1: How about this little fir tree? Shall I cut it down?
Woodcutter 2: Don’t bother. That tree is too small.
Narrator 2: The woodcutters cut down lots of trees, took off their branches and dragged them off.
Little Fir Tree: Where are they going?
Wind: Don’t worry where they are going. Just enjoy being young and free.
Narrator 3: When Christmas time came, the woodcutters would take down the trees but not take off their branches.
Little Fir Tree: Where are they going?
Swallow: People take the trees and decorate them with colourful ornaments.
Little Fir Tree: Oh, how I long to be a Christmas tree.
Squirrel: No, you don’t.
Hare: Stay here with us.
Narrator 1: The tree was still not happy. The next Christmas came and the little fir tree had grown.
Woodcutter 1: Look at this fir tree.
Woodcutter 2: It will make a perfect Christmas tree.
Narrator 2: They cut the tree and sold him to a man who carried him off.
Child 1: What a beautiful Christmas tree.
Child 2: Let’s decorate it.
Narrator 3: After a few days, the fir tree was not happy.
Little Fir Tree: I have such a pain in my neck from standing up straight trying to hold up these ornaments.
(Children run around playing and shouting.)
Little Fir Tree: It is so noisy. I wish I was back in the forest with my friends, the hare, the squirrel, the swallow, the sun and the wind.
Woman: Well, Christmas is over for another year. It is time to get rid of the tree.
She takes off the ornaments. (Man enters.)
Woman: Take this tree away.
Man: I will put it in the yard.
Little Fir Tree: I’m outside at last. How I missed the fresh air.
Narrator 1: As he stretched out, his needles dropped off.
Little Fir Tree: what’s happening? I’m brown and I’m withering. I wish I had enjoyed myself when I was younger. I shouldn’t have wanted to grow up so fast.
Narrator 2: The next day, the man came back with an axe. He chopped up the tree.
Man: This will make great firewood and will keep the family warm this winter.
Narrator 3: The tree’s life was past.
If you want to read more plays for children based on Hans Christian Andersen’s stories click on the link below.