Princess Elizabeth is to marry Prince Ronald when a dragon attacks the castle and kidnaps Ronald. In resourceful and humorous fashion, Elizabeth finds the dragon and rescues Ronald -- who is less than pleased at her un-princess-like appearance.Prince Ronald looks snobbishly conceited on the very first page. When "a dragon smashed her castle, burned all her clothes with his fiery breath, and carried off Prince Ronald," the prince is shown being carried away on the dragon's talon, upside down, peering at the reader between his dangling legs -- certainly not a time to be conceited. The princess is shown naked, her clothes burned away, though puffy clouds discreetly cover certain parts of her. Finding nothing unconsumed by the dragon's fiery breath, Princess Elizabeth dresses in a paper bag and sets out.
Here's one of my favorite illustrations from the middle of the book. Princess Elizabeth confronts the dragon, who burns up whole forests with his fiery breath. The brave little princess flinches, but she doesn't run away. Ronna of Renegade Conversations shared another illustration, showing the defeated dragon and Prince Ronald behind a barred window.
Once again, I intend to post a "spoiler," hoping you adults don't mind. Princess Elizabeth tricks the dragon and rescues Prince Ronald. His thanks?
"Elizabeth, you are a mess! You smell like ashes, your hair is all tangled and you are wearing a dirty old paper bag. Come back when you are dressed like a real princess."The final page shows her dancing off into the sunset, which is almost the color of the dragon's fiery breath (compare this to her silhouette on the Classic Munsch seal on the cover, above). Rated: 9 of 10, an excellent book for smart little princesses.
"Ronald," said Elizabeth, "your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum."
They didn't get married after all.