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The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom Hardcover – May 1, 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 206 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the League of Princes Series

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The Land of Stories: A Treasury of Classic Fairy Tales by Chris Colfer
Bestselling Middle Grade
Discover Chris Colfer and other bestselling middle grade stories. Learn more | See related books
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Editorial Reviews


“One of the more clever, hilariously successful incarnations of the current literary rage to rip apart and rewrite fairy tales… The princes in “The Hero’s Guide” may not be charming, but Healy’s romp of a book about them most certainly is.” (Los Angeles Times)

“The premise is indeed charming…a quest that recalls at moments the Musketeers and at others, the Marxes.” (New York Times Book Review)

“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.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))

“The fairy-tale world is tongue-in-cheek but fleshed out, creating its own humor rather than relying on pop-culture references. 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.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))

“[A] lively, humorous adventure.” (Wall Street Journal)

“This is the most fun you can have short of rounding up King Arthur’s knights, filling their armor with laughing gas, and driving them to a roller disco.” (Frank Cottrell Boyce, New York Times bestselling author of COSMIC)

From the Back Cover

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.

Debut author Christopher Healy takes us on a journey with four imperfect princes and their four improbable princesses, all of whom are trying to become perfect heroes—a fast-paced, funny, and fresh introduction to a world where everything, even our classic fairy tales, is not at all what it seems.


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Series: Hero's Guide (Book 1)
  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Walden Pond Press; 1 edition (May 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062117432
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062117434
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (206 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #244,230 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Lizz A. Belle VINE VOICE on April 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Ever wondered what Prince Charming's real name is (although Disney calls Sleeping Beauty's prince Philip) or what really happened during the daring rescues of our fairy tale damsels? If so, this book is for you. This is the story of the Princes Charming, four of them to be precise and how they go from kingdom outcasts to heroes and well... you have to read the book.

The story is essentially this, we relive the fairy tales of Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty (who turns out to be a real meanie), Cinderella (Ella in the story) and Snow White. Their stories are captured by wandering minstrels of the time who turn the princes into cads. Rapunzel was actually freed by the witch and her prince was thrown from the tower and blinded. He becomes a laughing stock of the kingdom. Ella is saved by her prince just as the fairy tale says with the slipper and all, except her prince charming is kind of a loser. He has no battle skills and lives for bubble baths and flute lessons. Snow White's prince saves her by the kiss, although he happened upon her glass coffin without actualy looking for her and he seems to be hypomanic. Sleeping Beauty is rescued also through "true love's kiss" awakening her, except in this version the prince refuses to marry her because she is a horrid, awful and selfish person, which in turn makes him an outcast with his kingdom since all his parents and subjects care about are the gold mines running under Sleeping's kingdom.

Prince Fredric sets off to find his fiancee, Ella and in turn meets Gustav, Rapunzel's prince. They then encounter Prince Liam, Sleeping Beauty's ex betrothed and later Prince Duncan, Snow's actual husband (Duncan is the only married Prince). Together they have several interesting adventures involving a 10-year-old bandit king, trolls, giants and a dragon.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book will be a guaranteed hit with some audiences--like my 11 year old daughter, who is into unorthodox princess stories like Ella Enchanted or Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles, and my 9 year old son, who loved the oddball narration in the book How to Train Your Dragon. This was the perfect mash-up of a screwy adventure plot and its fairy tale basis.

The four princes of Rapunzel, Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty haven't got much to show for their brief splash of stardom. The bards of their respective kingdoms have labelled them all as "Prince Charming" and focused on their lack of heroics. Prince Frederic (Cinderella) was an impressive dancer, sure, but the real focus was on the rest of the story. Liam (Sleeping Beauty) and Duncan (Snow White) had awakened princesses with kisses, but Briar Rose turned out to be a despot and Duncan wasn't settling into married life as well as one would hope. Then there was Gustav (Rapunzel) and Rapunzel had not only saved herself but then she'd healed him with her tears--poor prince Gustav couldn't hold his manly head up after that. This story takes place after that... when the bards of the kingdom have disappeared and the witch from Rapunzel has concocted a wicked plot to finally get her fifteen seconds of fame.

The illustrations and the tone of this were reminiscent of Disney's Tangled--and the illustrations in this were amazing. I wish I'd bought this in hardcover just so I could flip through the book and stare at them. (For those buying the Kindle version, I was impressed at the appearance on the Kindle and though the file size is larger than most non-illustrated books, it's impressively small for how many illustrations there are in this.) I can't believe this is Todd Harris's first published book.
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Format: Hardcover
As a mother who screens everything her 13-year-old, crazy-about-fractured-fairy-tales daughter reads, there have been many times I've reconsidered my decision to be proactive in said daughter's literary pursuits. Since my own tastes run towards historical fiction, there have been times when, if I had to pick up yet another fractured fairytale, I was going to barf. This was so *not* the case with Christopher Healy's "The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom"! Since we'd just got done watching and reading Stephen Sondheim's Tony-winning musical "Into the Woods" (the illustrated edition available on Amazon.com is lovely), I could not help but draw comparisons - and "The Hero's Guide" compares very well indeed. Told in third-person from the point of view of the Princes Charming (that's funny in itself - Prince Charmings or Princes Charmings) of several different fairy tales, there are many, many witty and hilarious turns on the original fairytales of Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel and Snow White alongside irreverence and general silliness. This is one example of good writing, where the language is compatible with the setting and tone of the story, and consistently so. We now have the book on Kindle (thank you!) and are truly looking forward to the next installments in the series. Of *course* it's a part of a series! Said daughter's review follows:

" 'The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom' by Christopher Healy is a funny fairytale-adventure-gone-wrong book about who *really* is the hero in fairytales.

"Prince Frederic - Prince Charming in the Cinderella story. Scared of his own shadow, but very diplomatic.

"Prince Liam - Prince Charming in the Sleeping Beauty story. Bit too full of himself, but knows how to get things done.
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