Fantastic Friday: The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

by Christopher Healy
Walden Pond Press, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-211743-4
Grades 4-8
Reviewed from personal copy.

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.

I really enjoyed the humor in this book.  I also appreciated the fact that each of the princes and princesses was unique, with their own strengths and weaknesses.  I enjoyed the way each character grew in confidence and ability, with possibly the exception of Briar Rose (Sleeping Beauty). I also liked the fact that the princesses are doing more than just showing up at the right time and place to be rescued. Ella (Cinderella), for example, leaves Frederick in order to pursue a more adventurous life. The relationship between Prince Duncan and Snow White is an interesting one, far more realistic than most fairy tale relationships, especially considering Duncan's many idiosyncrasies. I found the characters to be fresh and delightfully entertaining.

Fairy tale re-tellings have really exploded in recent years.  The best-known stories have been the most commonly done, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, etc.  There are also been plenty of fractured fairy tale re-tellings.  I have enjoyed many of these as most authors take the time to make the story truly their own. And I will be reviewing more of these in coming weeks.  But I can honestly say I've never read a fairy tale book like this one.  It's interesting how the stories of the four Princes Charming come together and they end up each playing a role in trying to defeat the witch.  The introduction of the villains even provides plenty of humor. I thought it was appropriate however that while the princes/princesses do heroic things, they don't all of a sudden become popular and perfect. They  remain their own unique selves.  I highly recommend this book for those who enjoy fairy tales turned on their heads, with plenty of humor and heart.


  1. I am so excited about this book! I love everything about the way you described it, as well as all the fresh (and fractured) fairy tales popping up nowadays. It's going in my TBR pile! :-)


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