Mentor Text Review: The Paper Bag Princess

mentor text for teaching imaginative writing
  • Author: Robert Munsch
  • llustrator: Michael Martchenko
  • Publisher: ANNICK PR

The Paper Bag Princess (written by Robert Munsch and illustrated by Michael Martchenko) is a classic fairytale with a twist- the princess doesn’t play the role of the damsel in distress, rather she is the one doing the rescuing in this story!

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Writing:

IDEAS: The author has taken a well-known fairytale plot- a princess being captured by a dragon and needing to be rescued- and turned it on its head. This ‘fractured fairytale’ should inspire students to consider other well-known stories and consider ways they could be used as inspiration for new stories. Use plenty of talk and questioning opportunities to brainstorm ways stories such as Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk and the 3 Little Pigs could be twisted in a similar way.

ORGANISATION: this story has a clear beginning, middle and end. Use a 3-page booklet to help junior students construct their own story with a beginning, middle and end.

WORD CHOICE: This story has a number of tier 2 words that would be worthy of a vocab study with students. ‘Picture story book’ words such as fiery breath, fiercest, grabbed, tangled.

CONVENTIONS: Consider introducing the concept pf talking marks to students through the use of dialogue in this book (although you do need to remember that according to the Australian curriculum, they are not expected in student writing until year 4).

Suggestions For Using This Mentor Text To Teach Reading:

MAKING CONNECTIONS: Students could compare and contrast this book to other fairytales involving princesses, dragons and princes. They could do a character study on the princess in this book and look at how her characteristics are different to other princesses.

PREDICTING: Due to the logical flow of this book, it makes it perfect for practising predicting. Encourage students to predict using the front cover and title and constantly revise their predictions as you read the book. Ensure they provide justification for any predictions they make as they go.

SUMMARISING: Due to the reasonably simple structure of the book, students can practise summarising using either the ‘someone, wanted, but, so, then’ structure or the ‘first, then, next’ structure.

INFERRING: Ask students what makes this book so special- how is it different to other fairtytales? Why do you think the author may have decided to make the princess the hero in this story?

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