Publisher: Walden Pond Books
Publication Date: 01 May 2012
Series or Standalone: Standalone (potential for series)
The Author on the Web:
Christopher Healy – Twitter
The Illustrator on the Web:
The Illustrator on the Web:
Tod Harris – Official Site
Tod Harris – Blog
Tod Harris – Twitter
Place(s) Traveled to: The Kingdoms – Avendell // Hamonia // Sturmhagan // Erinthia // The Orphaned Wastes
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
First Line: Prince Charming is afraid of old ladies.
I don’t read a ton of middle grade books and its not because they aren’t good I just don’t have the time to devote to them that I would like. Though after reading this book I think I might have to try to find some more time to devote to middle grade as it was pretty gosh darn good. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy deals with one of my favorite story lines, the fairy tale retelling. This time around its a story that is told from those elusive Prince Charmings. Turns out that not only do they have real names….but they also have different ideas on how their stories played out. Who would have thought that “history” may have gotten a few facts wrong?
This book was filled with lots of humor as the Princes from Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Snow White all band together to try and get the real story (and their names) made known to the world. What follows is a long line of mishaps, misunderstands and shenanigans that will often have the reader laughing out loud. Each chapter has some sort of humorous title that gives a little hint as to what is to come in that chapter. This is normally something that I do not like in books, but for Hero’s Guide its something that really works for the book and also made me excited for the chapter to come.
Hero’s Guide is also filled with some amazing illustrations by Tod Harris. Here’s part of one that I used for one of my Instagram Photo a Day shots last month to highlight my favorite part of the weekend – reading time. This shot also gives an idea into the chapter titles that I mentioned above.
The one thing that I didn’t really like about this book was that there was a lot of foreshadowing in this book. While I didn’t mind it in the prologue, in fact, that made me super curious to see how those events came to be. As the book progressed there was just a bit too much of alluding to events to come. There was also the occasional author side commentary that would break the fourth wall and also break my reading concentration of the story. I also kind of wish that this story stuck with the points of view of the various Princes that there the main characters of the story. I get that by adding in little tid bits of the Princesses was probably there to keep girls interested it just turned me off a bit. I think that girls would have still appreciated the story with the Princesses as side characters only. But maybe that’s just me.
Overall, though I really enjoyed this book and once I really made time to sit down with it and read it the pages flew by. I really enjoyed this take on all the fairy tales that I know and love and I liked how even though the Princes would make a lot of mistakes they still found a way to make things work. Plans really went the way Prince Liam would have liked but sometimes the result of going off target is better than the original idea. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a delightful book that is sure to entertain readers of all ages and its one that I would definitely recommend to all.