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The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

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Cover of humorous middle grade novel by Christopher Healy

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

HarperCollins

Introduction

Once upon a time there were four princes who just wanted a little respect. In Chris Healy’s charming middle grade fairy tale The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, Frederic, Liam, Gustav, and Duncan, four previously unknown Prince Charmings doomed to eternity as faceless, generic heroes, will get the opportunity to defy the singing bards, take down a powerful publicity-seeking witch and write their own hero’s guide on how to save a kingdom. Kids 8 and above, as well as teens, will enjoy this humorous book.

Story Line of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Do you know where fairy tales come from? According to author Chris Healy, the bards of long ago were the only source of news throughout all the kingdoms and it was their job to create songs about royal events, such as dragon slayings, damsel rescuing, and curse breakings. Bards were responsible for “sculpting” the reputations of heroes and villains. Unfortunately, they weren’t exactly fact-checking their stories before sending them out into the world and tended to forget some details while sticking to a generic “Prince Charming” hero.

As our story begins, the royal bards from the kingdoms of Honoria, Sturmhagen, Sylvaria, and Erinthia, have been captured by an evil witch named Zaubera who is secretly plotting a spectacular hero versus villainess showdown. To lure the heroes to her secret hideout, Zaubera sets into motion a plan that most heroes cannot resist- rescuing someone in distress.

Who are the Prince Charmings in our story? First, there is Prince Frederick from Honoria. Frederick is a pampered prince determined to avoid dirt, disease, and an early demise by avoiding any sense of adventure. He is a gentleman in possession of dazzling ballroom dance skills, but when Cinderella (a most independent girl) disappears, leaving only a note that she’s off on her own adventure to find a missing bard, Frederick decides to take a risk and follow her.

Prince Gustav from Sturmhagen is a brawny fellow who acts before he thinks. He’s terribly impatient and is angry that the bards have given him a bad reputation. He didn’t mean to forget the ladder when rescuing Rapunzel. And did they have to sing about how Rapunzel (a girl!) saved him from the evil witch? Now a major laughingstock in his kingdom, Gustav leaps at every opportunity to redeem his hero status.

Prince Liam from Erinthia is a hero’s hero, a caped crusader whose ego thrives on the accolades of his adoring fans. Liam just wants to serve the people and marry his wealthy princess, but when he finally secures a moment with his Sleeping Beauty bride-to-be, he decides she’s too prickly a princess for his tastes. When he refuses to marry her, a backlash of hostility forces him to flee his kingdom and go into hiding.

Prince Duncan hails from Sylvarai. Miniature in size but large in heart, Duncan is the only Prince Charming to have actually married his princess- Snow White. He's a bit naïve and the other princes are unsure about what to do with this odd little man, but his perpetual happiness, fierce loyalty, and gift for dragon-speak come in quite handy as they progress toward the climactic showdown with Zaubera.

When all four princes find themselves in each other’s company, they are determined to become a formidable team, and prove to their kingdoms and their princesses that they are indeed true heroes who have names.

Author Chris Healy

Funny man Christopher Healy has a gift for humor. Born in New York City, this self-confessed lifelong reader thought he might like to write a book, but it took a long time before finding the perfect story. Meanwhile, he maintained steady income doing odd jobs: zombie in a haunted house, toy store shelf -stocker, celebrity name spell checker, and actor. An opportunity to write articles came along and brought Healy closer to his book writing goal.

Finally, the father of two decided the time had come to write a book for his own children. In 2012 he published his first children’s book A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. Now a full-time writer, Healy resides in New Jersey with his family. (Source: Christopher Healy’s Web site)

My Recommendation

Debut children’s author Chris Healy knows how to make readers laugh and he does just that in his comical masterpiece The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. From the get-go, readers will be delighted by the originality of Healy’s story line: four princes fighting to defend their reputations in the face of overwhelming circumstances. Add to the story line fast-paced action, quirky characters with unique personalities, witty dialogue, and zany humor and the result is sheer entertainment.

The dialogue alone is sure to inspire playground quotations. A sample of Healy’s witty banter takes place between the ego-centered Liam and the sharp tongued princess, Briar Rose. When Briar Rose mandates that after marriage Liam will serve only her he responds in true hero fashion: “I work for the people. I offer my services wherever I’m needed.” To which the spicy Briar Rose responds: “The people! Ha! The people are here to shine my tiaras and cook my puddings…” and so on until readers burst out laughing at this unorthodox portrayal of the perfect princess.

The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is destined to be a classic because it’s a fresh, satisfying and funny read that appeals to a variety of readers. Healy has a surefire hit on his hands, and fans can rest assured that this book is only the beginning of great adventures to come. The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a perfect candidate to be read in children’s book clubs or to be read aloud as a bedtime story. Although written for a middle grade audience, Healy has created a tale that even teens and adults will enjoy. Highly recommended for all ages and written for ages 8-and up (Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2012. ISBN: 9780062117434)

More Recommendations From Your Guide Elizabeth Kennedy

If your middle grade readers (somewhere within the Grade 4-8 range) enjoy fantasy, although with more emphasis on adventure and less on the humor you'll find in The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, there are several series by Rick Riordan that I recommend: Percy Jackson & the Olympians and The Kane Chronicles. If they have already read the Percy Jackson series, I recommend they follow it up with Riordan's The Heroes of Olympus. Other books they might enjoy are the Harry Potter series, When You Reach Me, for which author Rebecca Stead won the John Newbery Medal in 2010, and The Last Dragon.

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