The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle Book Poster Image

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle

(i)

 

Wacky, gripping sequel has slapstick, swordplay, sweetness.

What parents need to know

Educational value

There are more examples of media spin and the way popular perception of events may not have anything to do with what really happened -- an issue first raised in The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom.

Positive messages

Clear messages about the power of friendship and courage, that the things that make people different often turn out to be their greatest strengths, and allowing them to do just the right (albeit weird) thing when it really counts.

Positive role models

The four princes all grapple with various issues while trying to be true Heroes, from families that don't understand them to happy-ever-after endings that don't go as planned. Meanwhile, the princesses, from nefarious Briar Rose to intrepid Lila, are strong, independent, and at least as brave and capable as the men in their lives. All the hero characters learn from their mistakes and become better people, while the villains who survive tend to get more incorrigible.

Violence & scariness

Plenty of mayhem, but mostly cartoonish. There's swordplay, hand-to-hand combat, and the threat of gruesome death at the hands of various villains, and more than one evildoer ends up falling victim to a moat full of man-eating eels. Some of the scariest monsters turn out to be very helpful.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle is the sequel to the bestselling The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Common Sense Media reviewer Christopher Healy, and continues the adventures of the League of Princes. Once again, the four Prince Charmings (Frederic, Gustav, Liam, and Duncan) and their significant others (Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, and Snow White) face challenges, battle adversaries, and learn life lessons in a madcap, fast-moving saga that leaves plenty of room for further developments. There's a fair amount of borderline-slapstick violence, from swordplay and wrestling monsters to a moat full of man-eating eels, and some villains come to a bad end.

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What's the story?

A year has passed since the adventures described in The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, and our heroes -- fashionable Frederic, brawny Gustav, swashbuckling Liam and geeky Duncan -- have been finding things a little flat. Scheming Briar Rose soon blackmails them into another quest -- in search of a legendary jeweled sword that was carried off by the Bandit King in the first book. The Bandit King and a fearsome warlord, meanwhile, are scheming against each other, Briar Rose, and our heroes, while Rapunzel, Snow White, and Cinderella, not to mention Liam's formidable little sister Lila, pitch in to help out. Many wacky encounters ensue.

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Weighing in at nearly 500 pages, THE HERO'S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE is more frothy fun than hefty tome, with lots of illustrations by Todd Harris adding to the appeal. Kids will zip through this tale faster than the messenger Smimf in his seven-league boots, pausing mainly for interludes of the giggles. While there's plenty of cartoonish silliness in the story's pacing and development, some of the characters are dealing with issues -- coping with difficult family members, discovering the value of friends, trying to be a better person -- that have a lot in common with real life. And like the first book in the series, this one leaves plenty of perils and unresolved issues for the next installment.

Families can talk about...

  • Familes can talk about the two books in this series. Did you read The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom? Do you like ...Storming the Castle more, or less? Why?

  • Why do you think new stories based on fairy tales continue to be so popular? What others do you like?

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  • How are the characters and their lives different at the end of the book than they were at the beginning, and what do you think will happen next?

Book details

Author:Christopher Healy
Illustrator:Todd Harris
Genre:Fairy Tale
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Princesses and fairies, Adventures, Book characters, Brothers and sisters, Fairy tales, Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Walden Pond Press
Publication date:April 30, 2013
Number of pages:496
Publisher's recommended age(s):8 - 12
Available on:Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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