We reserve the right to close comments at any time. “Well, a princess! Original questions and guidelines for philosophical discussion by Alyk Kenlan and Maya Ben-Shahar. Here’s the first thing about children’s author Robert Munsch that you should know. Find tips for leading a philosophical discussion on our Resources page. [realizes Ronald is not all he’s cracked up to be and decides not to marry him after all. It’s a big risk, isn’t it? Only one replied. One day my wife, who also worked at the daycare center, came to me and said “How come you always have the prince save the princess? Here the book asks us to wonder about the nature of happiness. The book ends with an illustration of Elizabeth leaping off into the sunset on her own. At the time, they were working out of her basement. Girl meets boy. Hahahaha... Great book to lead a class discussion. It's a great book for girls and boys, with a short story that's perfect for bedtime, an important message, and good illustrations. I hope you like it. And she is wearing a fucking paper bag because that goddamn dragon destroyed her entire wardrobe. (Annick Press) The book ends with an illustration of Elizabeth leaping off into the sunset on her own. Some narratives are so ingrained in our minds that it is hard to imagine a different ending for the story. Come back when you’re dressed like a real princess.”. The Paper Bag Princess redefines happily-ever-after endings with this message: You shouldn’t marry a douche like Ronald just because you’re expected to. An unconventional princess named Elizabeth happily prepares to marry Prince Ronald. Robert Munsch was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. P: (765) 658-4075, Monday - Friday: 8AM - 7PM Saturday-Sunday: closed, Module by Alyk Kenlan and Maya Ben-Shahar, Moral Reasoning and Leadership Development at DePauw, Hosting an Event at the Prindle Institute, Original questions and guidelines for philosophical discussion, Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, National High School Model UN Ethics Resources. “Elizabeth, you are a mess! Should Elizabeth be happy?” and “Is she happier now than at the beginning? On the final page, we see Elizabeth joyfully heading into the sunset, still in her paper bag, and leaving behind the prince. This is from 1980 and it's serious girl power. This princess is in love with the prince. "I think it's incredibly important to have these narratives … to just remind you that it's not acceptable to be spoken to with anything other than respect and love. Just a moment while we sign you in to your Goodreads account. “She lived in a castle and had expensive princess clothes,” Munsch writes. It is fantastic. Elizabeth shows her strength of character once again, telling the prince that although he looks quite nice, he is still a bum, and leaving him. In many princess books and stories, the plot just happens to the princess. Here, one should try to have the students answer the question: “What do you think her life was like before Ronald was taken? And she toughened up. To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). In this picture book, a clever princess rescues her prince, [, who turns out to be more of a toad, so she dumps him with no regret. Clearly Elizabeth is happy, but why? And in the famous final words of the book, they don't get married after all. Why can’t the princess save the prince?”. Edited June 2020 by The Janet Prindle Institute for Ethics. Maybe that’s when the stories will have a true “lived happily ever after” ending. This story, however, seems to lean in the other direction, toward the arbitrariness of aesthetics. After identifying gender roles, we can challenge the value of these roles by asking “Is it okay for us to say that most nurses should be women? I was worried I'd never meet someone.… I think it made me braver, in a really joyful way. How very lucky and how very rare. The review of this Book prepared by Laura Southcombe. What are some roles and identities in your lives? Does this mean one can choose to be a princess or, indeed, any social identity? According to this view, one’s life goes well to the extent that one actively uses one’s mind and skills. She flatters the dragon and tricks him into using up all his fiery breath by showing her what he can do. Once they had the story, Munsch and the publishers set out in search of an illustrator. The Paper Bag Princess begins with a very typical prince named Ronald and a princess named Elizabeth. She learns quickly he's not worth her love and she MOVES on. Boy meets dragon. My favorite part of the book was actually the afterward where the author's wife was talking about how he came up with story. Elizabeth the princess outsmarts the dragon, but not before his fire breath blows away all of her clothes and she's left to conceal her nakedness by wearing a paper bag. You can push the conversation further by asking, “If Elizabeth still felt like a princess and thought of herself as a princess, would she be a princess?” Similarly, if one decides that Elizabeth acts in the way a princess should act, is this enough to make her a princess? I mean, an 80's picturebook about a princess who loses her family and all, and then goes to save her beloved prince from a dragon ALL BY HERSELF - how cool is that?? If so, are these roles only because we say so? "We were committed to these books that were going to take a stand, that were going to be outspoken, that were going to be very creative, revolutionary … and the world was ready for that," he said. Elizabeth Ciaravella, now 46, said the character gave her "big shoes to fill." But on the next page, Elizabeth is naked. Ontario family court judge and children's author Manjusha Pawagi said when she discovered the book in her 20s, it taught her to be less scared of being alone. They found Michael Martchenko in an unlikely place: an art show for advertisers. Elizabeth is unlike other female heroines in children’s books, because she is unashamed and determined in her goal to save Ronald. For many readers, the book was revolutionary. This is an instructive fairytale for young children about not putting up with a bunch of crap. You can create strong discussion here by asking about definitions of other gender roles, like “Can you name some roles that are meant for mostly men and mostly women?” If the students aren’t coming up with anything, provide some suggestions like nurses, firefighters, or police officers. Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted. Good discussion comes from the book by asking, “Is Elizabeth still a princess when she is outsmarting the dragon? She follows the trail left by the dragon and eventually finds his cave. Why have I never heard of Robert Munsch before? I bet you have heard the story of Cinderella, SnowWhite, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty and many such fairy tales. I remember one day when chubby little bright red-haired Jonathan said that he wanted to be the Princess. You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. “Elizabeth decided to chase the dragon and get Ronald back,” Munsch writes. The Paper Bag Princess closes with 'the ending it's supposed to have,' Munsch says. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. I had been telling lots and lots of dragon stories. What way? On the other hand, we’ll always be watching women helplessly screaming “bhagwan ke liye mujhe jaane do” (Let me go for god’s sake) while facing a sinister villain. “Ronald,” she says, “your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. Otherwise, from folk tales to the modern era, we will forever be forced to watch stereotypical heroes and heroines. Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read. Elizabeth is having none of it. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines. Start by marking “The Paper Bag Princess” as Want to Read: Error rating book. Since all her clothes are ruined, Princess Elizabeth dons a paper bag and sets off to save her prince. The paper bag princess is engaged to marry Prince Ronald, this handsome, uptight tennis-playing eighties-yuppie-style monarch, until she has to battle a fire-breathing dragon using only her wits. At the end, is she still a princess?” It is good to point out here that she has taken off her crown by the final page. Feminist fairy tales! As we move more into gender roles, the book poses a similar topic by having Ronald call out Elizabeth for not looking like a princess. When asking about Elizabeth’s life before the dragon attack, it is important to show the picture on the first page as evidence for the argument that she is happy in the castle. Act like a prince? What if the rest of the kingdom doesn’t agree? Renowned scholar Mary Beard calls it the book that made her a feminist. Martchenko had never illustrated a children's book before, and said he wasn't interested. Why or why not?” This becomes a foundation for asking about Elizabeth’s happiness throughout the rest of the story. The book has become a "personal Bible" for her. I don't even know how many times I've read this. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch is a terrific book to introduce to a class at the beginning, middle or end of the year, since the theme of conflict resolution is a necessary reminder year round.