I was first given a copy of The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch during my freshman year of college by a cousin of mine who felt strongly that all young women should probably be aware of the wisdom of saving one's self from the dragon rather than waiting around for the prince to show up and do the job. Many years later, I rediscovered this book during a trip to the library, and to my delight, Mariam thought it was just as clever and funny as I did when I first read it.
The Paper Bag Princess is a humorous twist on the classic fairy tale. The basics are all there; the prince, the princess, a nasty dragon. However, this particular prince turns out to be less than an ideal catch and it is our princess who turns heroine and rescues the pathetic and mostly clueless prince from the dragon, who turns out to be surprisingly vulnerable to a smart and persistant princess.
The Paper Bag Princess is an enjoyable read on many levels. It is funny, creative and has a fast moving story with great illustrations. But it also has a lot to offer in terms of character and even, dare I say, moral. This is a book about self-reliance and the importance of strength of character, and even if this isn't necessarily apparent to the average five year old when they are having it read aloud to them, the positive message is nonetheless present. And, it's all reinforced with a fairly hilarious ending, and that is always a good thing.