MIDDLE GRADE BOOK REVIEW: The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy


Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You remember them, don't you? They're the Princes Charming who finally got some credit after they stepped out of the shadows of their princesses - Cinderella, Rapunzel, Snow White, and Briar Rose - to defeat an evil witch bent on destroying all their kingdoms.

But alas, such fame and recognition only last so long. And when the princes discover that an object of great power might fall into any number of wrong hands, they are going to have to once again band together to stop it from happening - even if no one will ever know it was they who did it.

Christopher Healy, author of the acclaimed The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, takes us back to the hilariously fractured fairy-tale world he created for another tale of medieval mischief. Magical gemstones, bladejaw eels, a mysterious Gray Phantom, and two maniacal warlords bent on world domination - it's all in a day's work for the League of Princes.


 Christopher Healy has spent nearly a decade immersed in children's pop culture as a freelance reviewer of books, movies, music, toys, and video games. His work has appeared in multiple magazines and websites, and he continues to post reviews to his own blog, KidPop and Beyond (kidpopandbeyond.blogspot.com).

His first novel, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, is a comedic adventure that follows the exploits of four different Prince Charmings in the aftermath of their not-quite-accurate fairy-tale fame. It will be published on May 1st, 2012, by Walden Pond Press, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Chris lives in New Jersey with his wife and two children. And he can assure you that everything that appears in his book has been studied and approved by his nine-year-old daughter.


I'll admit right off the bat that I loved this book.  I enjoyed it just as much as I enjoyed the first one. The characters are great.  Each one has their own strengths and weaknesses and all made me roll my eyes at one time or another, but I couldn't help liking them (most of them) despite their flaws.  The four princes and princesses I found especially entertaining. Most of them have good intentions but those good intentions inevitably go awry, which is where the humor comes in. I found myself laughing out loud at numerous points in the book.  Whether it's Frederick hiding behind a plant to avoid sword training with Liam or Frederick, Duncan, and Gustav's bumbling efforts to rescue Liam from an unwanted wedding, there is much here to enjoy.  

Healy turns fairy tales on their head with this tale of princes trying desperately to be heroes while matching up with the wrong princesses.  It's clear that the princes are 'lined up' with princesses who are wrong for them, except for Duncan who is already married to Snow White. I'm interested in seeing how things play out there. In addition, the play between the villains and 'heroes' made for amusing reading. If you enjoy fairy tales full of eccentric characters with plenty of humor and great illustrations, I can highly recommend this one.



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