Hello folks! I have recently returned from the San Francisco Writer’s Conference, where I learned a lot! Check back in March and I’ll talk about the tips I picked up, the most interesting panels, and the rather controversial keynote speeches – it will be just like you were there with me! 🙂 But now, back to Fairy Tale February!
When I was little, I wanted to be a princess, just like pretty much every other girl I knew, except for Kati. Kati did not have princess tendencies…But for me, I devoured all the books on princesses, insisted on wearing dresses everywhere, and walked around with a doily on my head, which led to my rather unfortunate childhood nickname of Princess Doily. (Interesting side note – Kati’s childhood nickname was “the bear.” Heh heh.)
One of my absolute favorite princess books was “The Paper Bag Princess” by Robert Munsch, and illustrated by Michael Martchenko. It was a lovely fairy tale where a dragon burns down the castle and carries off the prince. Princess Elizabeth has nothing to wear except a paper bag, since all her lovely gowns were destroyed, but she doesn’t let that stop her from rescuing the prince from the dragon. Only he’s not at all grateful. In fact, he’s downright rude, and tells her to come back when she looks like a real princess, so she calls him a bum and leaves him there.
This was a whole revolutionary kind of princess to me – someone who was strong and determined and not afraid to walk around in a paper bag. The kind of princess who didn’t wait around to be rescued, but did the rescuing. I immediately decided this was the kind of princess I wanted to be, and I took the doilies off my head and stopped wearing dresses all the time. Besides, the other kids could see my underwear when I swung on the monkey bars at school…it had been a growing problem.
Nowadays there is much debate about the Princess Problem, but I think if all girls today aspired to be like the Paper Bag Princess, there would be no problem at all. She was one of my first book heroes, and she was wonderful.
How about you? What was your favorite fairy tale when you were a kid? And please, please tell me I wasn’t the only one walking around with a doily on my head.