Parents' Guide to

The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw

By Mary Eisenhart, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Sweet, silly, swashbuckling end to fairy-tale saga.

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THE HERO'S GUIDE TO BEING AN OUTLAW careens through 500-plus thoroughly engaging pages of madcap, slapstick perils and wisecracks. By that time, Christopher Healy's three-volume saga has jumped not only the shark but the giant mongoose, the brain-melting beetle, and the shape-shifting snake. Don't expect things to make a whole lot of sense; do expect many charming moments as various characters fall in love, display courage when it counts, and save the day in reliably oddball fashion.

Aside from the mostly cartoonish violence, there's little problematical content and much entertainment value. The story's an excellent read-aloud choice, but adult readers-aloud are warned that author Healy tosses off the occasional cultural in-joke that will go right by little ones and have grown-ups in giggles, as when a character named Val Jeanval joins the entourage. Some allusions only Baby Boomer grandparents might recognize, like when ditzy Duncan calls a sea monster "Cecil."

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