September 10, 2012
The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
First sentence: "Prince Charming is afraid of old ladies."
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So, you think you know your fairy tales. How the same guy -- Prince Charming (which is an adjective really, not a name) -- manages to rescue Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty AND Snow White? How is that possible?
Well, what if they were actually four guys: Frederic, Gustav, Liam, and Duncan. And they feel like they kind of got the short shrift in those stories. Maybe, just maybe, things aren't exactly everything the stories said they were.
And, what would happen if Frederic (who really is quite afraid of the outdoors), and Gustav (who has impulse problems), Liam (whose ego could be taken down a notch or two) and Duncan (who's just plain, well, unusual) stumble upon each other, and upon a sinister plot to take over all of their kingdoms, and just happen to figure out a way to stop it?
I'm not sure I'd call this book hilarious -- no milk was ever snorted through my nose, a good benchmark, I think -- but it was definitely amusing. From the chapter titles, all of which begin "Prince Charming..." (my favorite? "Prince Charming Walks into a Bar". Sounds like a joke waiting to happen), to the silliness of the princes to the fact that it all just kinda sorta works out in the end, it was enough to keep a smile pasted on my face.
My only qualm: I have no idea if boys -- the target audience, given the look of the Brave Guys on the cover -- are going to want to read a silly book about fairy tale princes being lame until they learn not to be. Much like Adam Rex's Cold Cereal, I am afraid this is a book without much of an audience. Which is too bad, because it's really a delight.
(Just for the record: because this is a Cybils nominee, I've been asked to make sure y'all know this is my opinion only, and not that of the panel.)