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Cover image for The hero's guide to saving your kingdom
Format:
Title:
The hero's guide to saving your kingdom
ISBN:
9780062117434

9780062117458
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : Walden Pond Press, ©2012.
Physical Description:
438 pages : illustrations, map ; 21 cm
Series title(s):
Number in series:
bk. 1.
General Note:
"Book 1"--Jacket.

Sequel: The hero's guide to storming the castle.
Summary:
"The four princes erroneously dubbed Prince Charming and rudely marginalized in their respective fairy tales form an unlikely team when a witch threatens the whole kingdom"-- Provided by publisher.
Reading Level:
Ages 8-12.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader Grades 5-8 5 12 Quiz 151439 English fiction.

Accelerated Reader AR MG 5.0 12.0 151439.
Added Author:
Electronic Access:
Click here to see what BCPL staff say about this title.
Holds:

Available:*

Library
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Healy
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Healy
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JUV FIC HEALY
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+ FICTION - HEALY
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+ FICTION - HEALY
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JFIC HEALY
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JFIC HEALY (OBOB)
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J FICTION - HEALY
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J FICTION - HEALY
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J HEALY, C. HEROS GUIDE BOOK 1
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JR HEALY
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Healy, C.
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J FIC HEALY 2012
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+ HEALY
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J FICTION HEALY
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J Healy, C.
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J Healy
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JF HEALY v.1
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JF HEALY v.1
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JF HEALY
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JF HEALY
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JF HEALY
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J Healy, C.
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JF Healy, C.
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On Order

Summary

Summary

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, the princes 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.

Christopher Healy's Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after "happily ever after." It's a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun.


Reviews 6

School Library Journal Review

Gr 4-6-The premise in this debut novel is that the princes in the "Cinderella," "Snow White," "Rapunzel," and "Sleeping Beauty" stories resent their relative anonymity (they're all just known as "Prince Charming") and want some recognition. Then, too, that "happily ever after" thing isn't working for any of them, so the princes and their princesses set off to rectify matters. The eight of them team up in assorted permutations throughout the ensuing slapstick proceedings. Unfortunately, it all becomes tiresomely repetitive. Though it might be funny once for people to fall over and knock into other people who fall over. and over and over like dominoes, it stops being amusing pretty quickly. It's understandable that Healy's characters are broadly drawn. They are, after all, fairy-tale personae. But more than 400 pages of the obsessive-compulsive prince, the ridiculously macho prince, the overachieving prince, and the extremely stupid prince and their equally one-dimensional princesses are a lot to plow through, especially when things are left so unresolved that readers suspect a sequel is in the offing.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Public Library, NY (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel-classic stories that share one important character: Prince Charming. But Frederic, Duncan, Liam, and Gustav are four very different princes, and happily ever after isn't working out as well as they'd hoped. Cinderella has walked out on Frederic in search of adventure, oddball Duncan gets lost in the woods after Snow White sends him away, Liam's reputation is in tatters after he refuses to marry the wealthy Sleeping Beauty, and Gustav is the laughingstock of the kingdom because Rapunzel saved him. After Cinderella is captured by a witch, Frederic calls on the other princes for help, but when their quest lands them in the middle of an evil plot against their kingdoms, the four must get past their clashing personalities and save the day. Despite a reliance on coincidences, Healy's fast-paced debut is overflowing with suspense, humor, and carefully developed characters. Healy injects age-old characters and fairy tale tropes with a fresh, contemporary sensibility, resulting in a crowd-pleaser with laugh-out-loud lines on nearly every page. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8-12. Agent: Cheryl Pientka, Jill Grinberg Literary Management. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

Darn those bards, those spinmeisters with their princess-centric tales that shunt the ladies' romantic counterparts off to the side. What, debut author Healy wants to know, about the guys? Determined to rectify earlier troubadours' narrative failings, he introduces us to four Prince Charmings (or Princes Charming, depending on your grammatical druthers): strapping Gustav, who keeps an eye out for Rapunzel; gallant Liam, who is promised to Briar Rose whether he likes it or not; Cinderella's timid, foppish Frederic, whose sartorial tastes cause him to look like a "deranged doorman"; and Snow White's eccentric, annoying Duncan, who likes to "organize his toothpick collection alphabetically (they were all filed under T)." This motley crew of heroes stumble upon one another and then head off to find Ella, who seems to have disappeared. But after bumbling from tower to tower in the fairy-tale woods in which this irreverent story is set, they discover that bigger evils are afoot. Encounters with a pint-sized robber king and his minions, a gentlemanly giant, a dangerous dragon, vegetarian trolls, dour dwarves, and a nasty witch -- along with much witty banter, movie-ready descriptions, cartoony illustrations, and nonstop action -- make this fairy-tale mashup highly entertaining. monica edinger (c) Copyright 2012. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Kirkus Review

Instead of finding Happily Ever After with their princesses, four Princes Charming (Prince Duncan insists they pluralize the noun, not adjective) must team up on a farcical quest to save their kingdoms. The bards have the story details wrong, and each Prince Charming that rescues a princess actually has a name. Bold, party-crashing Cinderella wants adventure more than sheltered Prince Frederic does. Prince Gustav's pride is still badly damaged from having needed Rapunzel's teary-eyed rescue. Through Sleeping Beauty, Prince Liam learns kissing someone out of enchanted sleep doesn't guarantee compatibility, much to the citizens of both kingdoms' ire. Although she loves wacky Prince Duncan, Snow White needs some solitude. The princes-in-turmoil unite to face ridiculous, dangerous obstacles and another figure underserved by bards' storytelling: Zaubera, the witch from Rapunzel's story. Angered at remaining nameless, she plots to become infamous enough through ever-escalating evil that bards will be forced to name her in their stories. The fairy-tale world is tongue-in-cheek but fleshed out, creating its own humor rather than relying on pop-culture references. In this debut, Healy juggles with pitch-perfect accuracy, rendering the princes as goobers with good hearts and individual strengths, keeping them distinct and believable. Inventive and hilarious, with laugh-out-loud moments on every page. (Fantasy. 8 up)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.


Booklist Review

This is the fractured and funny saga of four Princes Charming, who really aren't that charming, and four princesses, who are perfectly capable of saving themselves, thank you very much. Readers might not recognize the names Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav, but their partners Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel will obviously ring a bell, and imaginative first-time children's novelist Healy places them all in neighboring kingdoms, provides when-boy-meets-girl backstories, and sets them on a quest to . . . do a lot of things, actually. Such tasks include defeating witches, battling dragons, rescuing imprisoned bards, and other assorted hero-type things, which are accomplished with lots of slapstick action and tongue-in-cheek, eye-roll-worthy dialogue, with some life lessons ( sometimes being a hero isn't about getting the glory. It's about doing what needs to be done ) thrown in for good measure. Take Jon Scieszka's The Frog Prince, Continued (1991) concept, add 400 pages, shake silly, and read with glee. Complete interior illustrations unseen.--Medlar, Andrew Copyright 2010 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

THE business of children's books can seem, for reader and author alike, a bit like buying a ticket for the lottery: from many similar-seeming scraps of paper, one or two will hit the jackpot, while most will be tossed or remaindered. Baffling enough in the big book world, this disproportion, in which one book gets so much and the others so little, is particularly baffling when it comes to fantasy literature for younger readers. That a lottery seems unpredictable is, of course, what makes it a lottery - still, the difference between, say, the commercially mighty "Eragon" and all the other Tolkien followers seems so minute one doubts anyone could have predicted its peculiar appeal. However random the outcome, we at least know the tickets come stamped in two ways: "I'll take the jokey one, you take the spooky one," the 12-year-old reader said with a sigh, taking up her father's offer to split the work (and rewards) of reading and reviewing in turn two new fantasy adventures for children, "The False Prince," by Jennifer A. Nielsen, and "The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom," by Christopher Healy. Though the covers of both advertise tales about princes, the 12-year-old knows - a little eerily and in less than half a glance - which one is which kind, and what's more knows there will be only two kinds: that fantasy fiction for younger readers these days bends either toward the whimsical and inventive or the dark and fatalistic. This is true even of new classics. "Harry Potter," for all the blood and willed shadows of its last chapters, delights because of its jokes; it is Dobby and Gilderoy Lockhart and the Sorting Hat that make the reader hang on through the tediously ominous Voldemort hissings. Meanwhile, for all its mordant satirical side glances at what Mitt Romney's America might be like, "The Hunger Games" gives pleasure because of its spooks. The classic dystopian pursuit of the logical outcome of current circumstances (in this case, the bottomless cruelty of a society of competitive spectacle) is what makes it memorable. Tolkien, in an act of will, long ago brought together creatures of the two kingdoms - the lovable hobbits out of Grahame and Milne along with the darker William Morris-inspired dwarves and trolls - but the two realms have drifted apart ever since. Some of us write essentially whimsical, sentimental books; others, dark sagas. "The False Prince," by Jennifer A. Nielsen ("Elliot and the Goblin War"), to start with the father-reads-first one, is, as the 12-year-old spied, entirely an instance of the Spooky. A grim story that takes an occasional, though only very occasional, mordant turn, it tells how four orphaned boys are captured and kept hostage in the austere medieval kingdom called Carthya, whose topography and neighboring kingdoms are shown in an utterly typical fantasy map on the frontispiece. Snatched from their not very pleasant institution, the boys, we soon learn, are exploited by their new owner, the aristocratic Conner, as pawns in a plot to replace the pirate-slain Prince Jaron of Carthya with a plausible impostor. Put through brutal training in the arts of princedom, they sense that while whoever learns best will become the new prince, the others are almost certain to be assassinated. The central drama lies in the contest of wills between Sage, the most defiant of the orphans, and the cruel but (we are led to believe) essentially virtuous Conner, who may be brutal but is trying to keep the kingdom from civil war, fomented by Lord Santhias Veldergreth. (And if you do not suss out at the first mention that Veldergreth is a bad 'un, you have not read spooky pseudo-medieval fantasies.) The other would-be princes are there, it seems to sustain a modicum of suspense, while an apparently mute serving girl named Imogen dashes in and out of the narrative, to serve and warn the hero, in the manner of ambivalent servant girls since Karamaneh in Sax Rohmer's "Fu Manchu" books. (But, as the 12-year-old pointed out, since the book is narrated by Sage we know that whatever happens will not end with his murder, tamping down a possibility of jeopardy.) Written in the short, succinct paragraphs and cliffhanger chapter endings recommended by professional children's book writers, "The False Prince" has a surprisingly vague sense of place and particulars. "Conner's office was lined with shelves full of books and the occasional bust or trinket. Near the back of the room, he had a massive desk faced the door, and two comfortable chairs faced the desk. It made me wonder if he had a business through which he earned his own money." And an extremely cool plot twist near the climax is related in a similarly pedestrian manner: key, missing information suddenly offered in thirdperson, "here's what you didn't know" narration, while the fantasy world throughout seems to lie flat on a map with Scrabble names, rather than being realized in full. THE book's virtues are that it has a story, and a hero with a persuasively surly and defiant character, and a realistic vein of violence. There's more cruelty than one used to expect in this kind of tale, lending the story credibility. Sage is flogged in a dungeon till he bleeds, and several uneasy sections describe the dressing of his wounds. Meanwhile, an early loser in the "whowants-to-be-prince" contest is brutally murdered by the organizers. A post-"Hunger Games" inflation of effects has set in; it was once enough to have the villain beat a child to make him a villain,· now we need blood, wounds and a mounting body count. "The False Prince" is a page turner, certainly, but not what we might call a page earner - a book that makes the effort of reading worth the getting to the end. The absence of a fully furnished world keeps this particular page turner from lingering very long after the book is closed. Christopher Healy's first novel, "The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom," on the other hand, is the jokey one, of a heavily facetious sort. Using a tone that for this reader instantly recalled the wonderful "Fractured Fairy Tales" on the old "Rocky and Bullwinkle" program, with a dose of sour realism used to lift the clichés, "The Hero's Guide" features a kind of humor that may feel charmingly dated, resting as it does mostly on anachronism - contemporary speech placed in an archaic, fairy tale setting. This is comedy of a kind that perhaps ripened best in William Goldman's 1973 book "The Princess Bride." (With more patience for his dated pop-culture allusions than the father usually receives, the 12-year-old points out that this vein of meta-humor, in which familiar fairy tale types are revealed to be their opposites - brave trolls, evil princes - can also be found in the ever popular "Shrek" movies.) However hip" or outdated, the premise is indeed charming. Various Prince Charmings - or rather, Princes Charming, as the most pedantic of them points out - famous in fairy tales for rescuing princesses and celebrated by their court bards (who are more interested in selling a good story than in telling the truth), band together on a common quest. A witch, turned evil more by misunderstanding than intention, has kidnapped the bards, without whom the minstrels will have no songs, thus ending the reputations, and so the reign, of the four princes. The four hapless Charmings go out in search of Cinderella, whom the witch has also captured - a quest that recalls at moments the Musketeers and at others, the Marxes. (In homage, one of the princes names a squirrel Captain Spaulding.) Some of the jokes are very good indeed. We learn of Sylvarian dwarfs who "once started a war with the Avondellian elves simply because the elves were bragging about the fact that they got to pluralize with a "V" (Though the joke would be funnier without "the fact that") Not long after, one of the princes complains about the publicity that princesses get: "How does that manage to happen anyway? I vanquish the villain. I save everybody, and somehow it becomes her story." "'We all get the same treatment,1 Frederic says. 'What can I say, the people love princesses. Something about the fancy dresses, I think.'" Over several hundred pages, however, the relentless facetiousness, unleavened by suspense, seriousness or even sentiment, becomes exhausting. All that can happen, it seems, is another anachronistic joke. The "Fractured Fairy Tales" were short; this book is long. Each page offers something to laugh at, but it can be an effort to turn each page. These two fantasy novels, jokey and spooky, read together, do provoke a deeper, family-wide meditation on What Works (and its sordid companion category, What Pays). If "The False Prince" with its short paragraphs and clear climaxes works as it is read, it also makes one realize that good fantasies, like good novels, obtain their longevity through what lies beyond the story. (Recall how lurid and coarse Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" films felt with Tolkien's sense of lore and history replaced by ghastly orc makeup and C.G.I, wolves.) It's not simply that a book with jokes should have spooks as well, nor that the spooks and jokes should necessarily be mixed together. It's more that the reader shouldn't be sure, upon entering the precincts of fantasyland, where the stress will fall - and whether the next page will bring laughter or fear. What makes adult books last is, as with wine, their mix of fruit and acidity, sweetness and tannins; what makes children's books endure is their sheer density, as with milkshakes. The marriage not only of jokes and non-jokes, but of a fecundity of episodes, of strange storytelling and unexpected lyric corners, supplies for younger readers the satisfying fullness of imagination. What we remember in the classics is their side chapels as much as their altars. Chroma's color orchestra in "The Phantom Tollbooth," the discussions of world government in "Mistress Masham's Repose", Mary Poppins's shopping trips - digressions are the diamonds in the mines of storytelling. More recently, Lemony Snicket's "Series of Unfortunate Events" found its poise between lightness of tone and intensity of feeling - walking the tightrope between charm and harm, but also providing a supersaturation of material. Jokey and spooky did not so much alternate as adjoin at odd angles. PUT simply, we like stories; we need worlds. We make the distinction idiomatically and instantly: we speak differently of good stories and great books, and the difference is in the breadth of the imagined worlds. Works of morality without comedy to make them real are as unsatisfying as comedy without morality to make it matter. Though the laws of serendipity still rule a book's reception, perhaps the only way for authors to approach the literary lottery is to buy as many tickets from as many different vendors as possible: one from the grim store where Melpomene, the spooky muse, sits; another from the Times Square newsstand of Thalia, muse of laughter. After that, it's all the luck of the game. Adam Gopnik is a staff writer at The New Yorker. His books include "The Steps Across the Water" and, most recently, "The Table Comes First."