The Paper Bag Princess

Written By: Robert Munsch

Illustrated By: Michael Martchenko

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

Take a moment before beginning the story to look at the cover and illustrations throughout the book. Ask your child some questions about what they predict will happen by asking:

What do you think will happen in this story?

Why do you think she is wearing a paper bag?

Who do you think the boy in the story is?

Why do you think she is talking to this dragon? Does she look scared?

[Flip to a certain page] What do you think is happening in this picture?


Activate Prior Knowledge

Ask your child about other princesses that they know of and see what they think will be different about this princess. Ask, “Can you think of some princesses that you know? What are princesses usually like? What do they wear and where do they live?” Some of these princesses may include Cinderella and Rapunzel. Then, have your child compare and contrast the princesses by asking, “How do you think the Paper Bag Princess is different from those princesses? How might they be the same?”

As You Read

Get Animated

This story lends itself to being read in really fun and silly voices! You can give each character a different voice and use these voices when reading the dialogue.  For example, when reading the part of the dragon, put on your best big, scary voice! It makes the story fun and is sure to get a giggle out of your little one.

Build Vocabulary

Encourage your child to stop if they come to a word that they don’t know. Have them try to discover its meaning by looking at the words and illustrations surrounding it. Some examples of new words in The Paper Bag Princess include:




Make Connections

Be sure to engage your child by connecting the story to your child’s life. For example, when Elizabeth gets to the dragon’s door, you can ask, “Can you think of a time when you did something that could be kind of scary? How did you feel? How do you think Elizabeth feels? Is she scared? Angry? What would you do if you were in her place? What do you think will happen when the dragon opens the door?”  

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Ask your child questions at the end of the book to gauge their understanding and processing of the story. These questions may include:

What was Princess Elizabeth’s life like in the beginning of the story?

Why did she have to wear the paper bag?

Why did she go chasing after the dragon?

How was Elizabeth able to get past the dragon to Ronald?

Why didn’t Princess Elizabeth and Prince Ronald get married at the end of the story?

How is Princess Elizabeth different from the other princesses we talked about before?

This great story tells the tale of a spunky princess who uses her brain to outsmart a ferocious dragon, teaching children that they don’t always need to use force to defeat a large opponent. You can bring message that across to your child by asking questions such as, “Even though the dragon was big and scary, why didn’t Elizabeth didn’t get scared or run away? What did she do? Why did she say all of those nice things about him? Did she have to fight the dragon to beat him?”

Activity: Make Your Own Paper Bag Clothing and Crown

Adapted from By Heart Books

Supplies: A large paper bag used to collect leaves and yard waste, scissors, glue, and decorating materials (crayons, markers, ribbons, glitter, etc)

  1. To create an opening for the head and arms, cut a hole in the closed end of the bag and two holes in the corners. Be sure to leave enough space between these holes so that it has sturdy shoulders.
  2. Cut a thick, jagged border out of the bottom (the excess material will be used for the crown). For your little prince, just cut the bag shorter to make a paper bag shirt if you’d like!
  3. Let your child decorate the bag with glitter, markers, and whatever else they like.
  4. Take the excess fabric from the bottom of the bag and cut it so that it fits around your child’s head. Let your child decorate the crown as well and then glue the ends together.
  5. This fun and easy activity can help your child feel like a Paper Bag Prince or Princess that can take on even the most ferocious of creatures!