Reviews for Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom

Booklist Reviews 2012 May #2
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. Copyright 2012 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2012 Fall
Four Prince Charmings--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; and Snow White's eccentric, annoying Duncan--discover that evils are afoot in the woods. Witty banter, movie-ready descriptions, cartoony illustrations, and nonstop action help make this fairy-tale mash-up highly entertaining.

Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2012 #4
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

Kirkus Reviews 2012 April #1
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 2012 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2012 April #1

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)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2012 May

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

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