Why are all the fairy tales about the girls? Why do all the fairy tale heroines seem to end up with Prince Charming? If you believe The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, it’s all the fault of the lazy bards who wrote the songs. They couldn’t be bothered to get the names of the heroes straight; they just called them all “Prince Charming.”
In The Hero’s Guide, we meet Gustav, Duncan, Frederic, and Liam – the princes of Rapunzel, Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty, respectively. They are not exactly “charming,” at least not all of them. (But then, the four princesses are not all we’ve been led to believe in fairy tales either.) Each prince starts off on his own, with his own troubles to deal with, before eventually running into all the others and forming a league of princes. They don’t like each other very much at first, but as they spend time together – fighting monsters, planning rescues, getting captured by and then escaping from bandits - they learn to appreciate the individual strengths that each prince has.
The Hero’s Guide is funny and smart. (“Here we are, the four Princes Charming. All together in one place!” says
. “Prince Charmings,” Gustav counters. “No, Princes Charming,” Duncan corrects. “‘Prince’ is the noun; that’s what gets pluralized. ‘Charming’ is an adjective; you can’t add an S to it like that.” “It sounds stupid,” Gustav replies.) Duncan
I read an advance copy of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. The book jacket says it’s for grades 3-7. I’m an adult no longer classified by my school grade, and I found the book entertaining and charming (yes, pun intended). If you like new angles on old tales, you may enjoy this book. The ending hints at sequels, to cover further lessons on becoming a hero and to resolve some unresolved romance issues, and I look forward to more adventures with the league of princes.