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The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom



Last updated Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Author: Christopher Healy
Date of Publication:
ISBN: 0062117432
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2013

Synopsis: Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You’ve never heard of them, have you? These are the princes who saved Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, Snow White, and Rapunzel, respectively, and yet, thanks to those lousy bards who wrote the tales, you likely know them only as Prince Charming. But all of this is about to change. Rejected by their princesses and cast out of their castles, the princes stumble upon an evil plot that could endanger each of their kingdoms. Now it’s up to them to triumph over their various shortcomings, take on trolls, bandits, dragons, witches, and other assorted terrors, and become the heroes no one ever thought they could be.Christopher Healy’s Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom is a completely original take on the world of fairy tales, the truth about what happens after “happily ever after.” It’s a must-have for middle grade readers who enjoy their fantasy adventures mixed with the humor of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books. Witty black-and-white drawings by Todd Harris add to the fun. From Amazon.com

Note to readers:
•  You may want to read the prologue first, then mention which fairy tales the four Prince Charmings are from. The stories provide a very funny "behind the scenes" look at what really happened when each prince "rescued" his princess & the aftermath.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Who are some of your favorite fiction heroes?
•  Can you name any famed princes from folklore?

Vocabulary:
•  Bard- a person who composed and recited epic or heroic poems, often while playing the harp
•  Damsel- a young woman of noble birth
•  Keen- eager or enthusiastic
•  Dank- damp and cold
•  Despicable- deserving of hatred
•  Charred- scorched or burned
•  Bout- an athletic match
•  Chide- to scold someone
•  Onerous- something that's very burdensome or laborious
•  Maw- the mouth of a very hungry animal!
•  Troupe- a theatrical group or company
•  Chronicle- to record events in great detail

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  According to the narrator, who should we blame for our lack of knowledge about Prince Charming?
•  Why is King Wilberforce so protective of Frederic?
•  Does Ella's story sound familiar?
•  How does Frederic stand up to his father?
•  Why doesn't Frederic like the bard's song about him and Ella? How does Ella feel about the song?
•  Why did Gustav think the troll had eaten a child?
•  Why did Liam believe he was a hero?
•  Was Duncan lucky or strange and eccentric?

Craft ideas:
•  Write your own epic poem like the bards of old! Write the poem about one of the princes from the book
•  Draw a map of the various kingdoms. Include a guide to the various creatures that dwell within them!

Special activities:
•  Play the telephone game to illustrate how tales change over time! Write a simple sentence or two. Have the kids sit in a circle. The first child whispers the sentence to the next child, who whispers it to the next, and so on. When the last student hears the sentence, have him or her announce it to everyone. Compare this final sentence with the original. How did the sentence change?

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!