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19 July 2012

Review: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

I should point out that I read the ARC (Advanced Readers Copy) of The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy, so there may be slight differences between that and the final copy, but I don't think they would affect my review.
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Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You've never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it's up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.

Disney's version of the princes:  Liam, Frederic, Duncan and Gustav (images from google image).  Though, I always thought Gustav looked like one of the baddies from Tangled, rather than Eugene...
But anyway, yes, I really enjoyed this book!  It did take me a little to get into, mainly because (I think), it started off with Prince Frederick and Cinderella.  While Prince Frederick has a good heart and means well, he is rather bland at the beginning and I was a little worried.  But I kept reading!  And I'm really glad I did!  

If you ever needed a good book example for character growth and development---this is it!  All the boys (and most of their princesses), grew and changed for the better.  Liam became more humble, Frederick less of a sissy, Duncan finally figured out how to have friends, and Gustav became less of a brute.  

There were a lot of stories going on at once---Frederick's quest that started it all, the Wicked Witch, the Robber King, Briar Rose---but somehow they all tied together in the end and worked!  

I think my favorite aspect of the book was that the author did poke fun at the Disney princes and what they wore / acted.  You do know more about the princesses (I'm pretty sure we never learned Cinderella's prince's name in the movie, nor Snow White's).  It was nice to see the twist on Briar Rose, and also how Mr. Healy portrayed Snow White as a loner who liked being around animals---she is if you really think about it!

The only part (besides the beginning when we were learning about all of Frederick's phobias and things he doesn't do) that I didn't like was the ending.  I kind of felt it was a cop-out.  It worked, but I felt disappointed.  

I can't wait to share this book with my students.  I'm planning on doing a fairy tale unit, and I think this would be a perfect choice for some of my kiddos.  

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