Friday, 17 January 2014

ReadItDaddy's Book of the Week - Week Ending 17th January 2014 - "The Paper Bag Princess" by Robert Munsch and Michael Martchenko (Annick Press)

The Paper Bag Princess

Written by Robert Munsch

Illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Published by Annick Press

Without libraries, we might struggle to find wonderful books like this week's "Book of the Week". Though Robert Munsch's books are near legendary in the US, I've never come across them before here in the UK. The copy we found in our local library was "well loved" (book speak for "I really hope the librarians don't think WE spilled that junk on the book while reading it") but we couldn't resist its lure.

You see, we love a gutsy, smart and brave princess. Though Charlotte will coo over Ariel or squirm with delight over Princess Jasmine, she loves it when book heroines take no nonsense during the course of their story. Even more so if they aren't into all that horrid smoochy "marry the first prince that comes along" stuff.

Initially our hearts sank. In "The Paper Bag Princess" Robert Munsch pulls a bit of a double-switch, fooling the casual reader into believing that Princess Elizabeth has gone all goo-goo over the rather vain, incredibly stupid and intensely annoying Prince Ronald. In fact, when Ronald is kidnapped by a destructive death-dealing dragon, who leaves poor Princess Elizabeth without a stitch of clothing, we were a bit upset that Liz trounced off after him so readily. But read on, dear heart, read on.

You see, it doesn't take Elizabeth very long to find the dragon and the kidnapped prince. It also doesn't take her very long to get the measure of the nasty beast, who may be fast and strong and fearless, but is also definitely a few brain cells short of a smartie tube.

Clad in a paper bag, Princess Elizabeth takes on the dragon, setting him a series of challenges to prove his strength and cunning. The dragon readily accepts, but Liz has a superb plan in mind that the dragon is too vain to see through.

"Did she just call Ronald a bum? Hee Hee!" - Charlotte

Everything about this story made us feel giggly and great by the end. Princess Elizabeth joins the ranks of our other favourite storybook princesses, showing that sisters are doin' it for themselves and nasty little vain picknose princes had better watch out!

Charlotte's best bit: Princess Elizabeth taking about all she can take of Ronald's rudeness. The silly little oik!

Daddy's Favourite bit: For those who have loved "The Worst Princess" and "Princess Smartypants" - definitely don't miss out on The Paperbag Princess. She rocks!