Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Fantastic Fairytales - The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy

Published: May 1st, 2012
Publisher: Walden Pond Press

Those of you who follow the Princesses regularly will know that I am a huge fan of fairytales in any shape or form.  Today I'd like to highlight a new and slightly different cracked fairytale  The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy.  This is an absolutely hilarious look at life from the points of view of the 'Princes Charming'. Yep, that's right, there's more than one of them, and this is their story. Hero's is aimed at a slightly younger audience, but take it from me, it is fun to read for anyone.  This month we have an excerpt and a sneak peak at some of the amazing artwork that can be found in the book.

“Art copyright © 2012 Todd Harris”. 

“Woo-wee! That’s a biggie!” Duncan shouted.

Liam quickly clamped his hand over Duncan’s mouth and shushed him. They were barely a spear’s throw from Zaubera’s stronghold and its colossal, cloud-skimming tower.

“Sorry,” Duncan whispered. “But it’s really tall.”

The four princes found hiding spots among the rock outcroppings at the base of Mount Batwing, from which they could safely monitor the big stone fortress and the meadow in which it sat.

“Is that the tallest building in Sturmhagen? It has to be, right?” Duncan asked, still mesmerized.

“Technically, we’re not in Sturmhagen anymore,” Gustav said. “As soon as we crossed to this side of Mount Batwing, we were in No-Man’s-Land. It’s a dead zone. No kingdom will claim it.”

“Are those bleachers?” Frederic asked as he spotted a semicircle of raised wooden benches that sat on the lawn facing the fortress.

“I wouldn’t have expected a witch’s hideout to have grandstand seating,” Duncan said.

“That certainly is odd,” Liam said. “I wonder what she’s up to.”

“Well, at least we know how to get inside,” Frederic added, pointing to the enormous double doors.

“You could drive a herd of elephants through those doors,” said Duncan. “Why do you think they’re so huge? For the giant?”

“No,” said Liam. “I’m pretty sure the witch makes him sleep outside.” He pointed off to the left of the fortress, where Reese was snoozing on the ground. Frederic gasped.

“That’s him!” Frederic squeaked.

“Yes, I figured,” said Liam.

“Wow, he’s big too,” Duncan said in amazement. “I mean, I know they call them giants, but I always thought, ‘How big could they really be?’”

“Keep it together, Duncan,” Liam cautioned. “Now, everybody listen. It’s time to put my plan into action. It’s all the better that the giant is asleep. That will make things much easier. I’m heading over to the fortress. You three distract the giant if he—”

But before he could finish, Gustav sprinted into the meadow with his sword drawn. “Wake up, giant!” he yelled. “We’ve come for the girl!”

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” Liam grumbled.

Reese opened his eyes and spotted the charging Gustav just in time to swat at him. His enormous palm smacked into Gustav and sent him flying over the bleachers. He landed in the trees with a crash.

I don't know if any of you have ever read Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell's Sactaphrax books (Beyond the Deepwoods; Stormchaser and Midnight over Sanctaphrax), but Hero's seemed reminiscent of that style to me, with fantastic illustrations (as you can see) and a wonderfully humorous story.  (If you haven't read the Sanctafrax books I highly recommend them?)

I was lucky enough to get this second illustration as well:

 “Art copyright © 2012 Todd Harris”. 

Aren't these birds just hysterical?  I love them so much.  Thank you so much to Walden Media for allowing us to show them.

Keep an eye out for next month's Fantastic Fairytales when we will have a review  of The Hero's Guide to Saving our Kingdom and you will have the chance to win a signed copy of this wonderful book. See you next month.

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