A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this book isn't all bathroom humor; there are far more clever jokes mixed in. Plus, the main character, Prince Harry, starts out as a big practical jokester but comes to regret it when he gets to like Sir Fartsalot and finally admits to being wrong. He also finds a more positive outlet for his talents in the end. At one point, two knights are held captive by some very silly and flirty princesses who lob love notes at them; they get away as fast as they can. The battles with knights, ogres, dragons, a two-headed giant, and a giant bird are rather goofy over all, but twice Harry and Sir Fartsalot are almost eaten.
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What's the story?
Prince Harry spends his days in the Kingdom of Armpit pulling practical jokes on everyone in the kingdom. When his father, King Reginald the Not Very Realistic, can't take his behavior any more, he sends Harry on a quest with the first knight to come to town: the brave (and fragrant) Sir Fartsalot. But the quest is also one of Harry's jokes -- when Sir Fartsalot and his father don't know what a booger is, he claims it's a horrible monster that needs to be destroyed. So off they go, facing many real adversaries along the way: ogres, overly flirty princesses, dragons, a two-headed giant, and a man-eating bird named Tweety.
Is it any good?
With ogres, giants, flirty princesses, and rocs to fight, SIR FARTSALOT flies by and will probably be brought out again and again -- even by reluctant readers.
Parents of very reluctant readers need every trick in the book to get kids motivated. But will they stoop to indulging kids' natural tendencies toward bodily function humor? In this case, why not? There's plenty more going on here than farting and fights with imaginary giant boogers, and the humor is much wittier than that most of the time. For example, there's a calm discussion between knights who are being simmered in cauldrons by ogres, one complaining that he's been oversalted and therefore ruined. And there are the clever names for everything: the forest is called Knockon Wood, and Sir Fartsalot's friend is Sir Cedric Knotaclew.
Families who want some bedtime story giggles may even want to take turns reading passages, especially since some of the vocabulary will be above that of the early readers who will enjoy this story the most.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the humor here; considering the title, the book could have been cruder. What funny parts don't discuss bodily functions? Are they funnier than Sir Fartsalot's "foul west wind"? Also, why does Prince Harry grow to love Sir Fartsalot? Why is this knight who's silly in many ways worthy of respect?