Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Christopher Healy & Todd Harris (illustrator)
Walden Pond Press, 2012
We're all familiar with the "standard" fairy tales - Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Rapunzel: they're stories we can recite without pause. But what do we know about the Princes, really? They don't even have names! Just "Prince Charming," and you know it can't be the same Prince Charming in all of the stories (otherwise it wouldn't be True Love's Kiss!). In this first book of a new middle grades series, Christopher Healy introduces us to the Princes Charming (who all have real names, by the way). Don't let the "middle grades" label dissuade you: this is a book that all ages can appreciate!
How to explain this story ... Essentially, what Healy has done is take the oh-so-familiar fairy tales and turned them on their head. What we end up with is a band of mismatched Princes running around trying to make a name for themselves - literally. They're tired of being called "Prince Charming" and having everyone only remember the chick. This band of Princes are ready for adventure, ready to be heroes. And they're searching for Cinderella, who is apparently being held captive by the witch who entrapped Rapunzel. What the guys don't know is that Cinderella has some major spunk of her own, and is a force to be reckoned with. (And if you think you know 'Sleeping Beauty,' well, you're in for a surprise on that one! That girl be crazy.)
I loved this mashed up story, laughing out loud at parts, and falling in love with the idea of all these fairy tale characters jumbled into one wild mess. Prince Liam (Sleeping Beauty) stole my heart. For real. He's amazing (and the only "true" hero among the lot). Prince Duncan (Snow White) cracked me up, and there's just something endearing about Gustav (Rapunzel) and his brash style. Frederic (Cinderella) is the Prince I connected least with, but he has his good points, and is a key thread in the storyline. And don't get me started on the Bandit King.
Seriously, this is an excellent - and hilarious - first book, and I have very high hopes for the rest of the series.
Book provided by my local library.