The mail came just as I was leaving to pick up the girls at school. Catalog, catalog, bill, catalog, bill…Hey! A PACKAGE addressed to me! Inside was A Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, by Christopher Healy. I knew it was coming — Chris was Cookie magazine’s main childrens’ book reviewer and I worked closely with him and Myles McDonnell (of the great blog You Know for Kids) on that section month after month. But, as Myles wrote, if we knew how good he’d be at writing adventure novels for kids, we would have encouraged him to miss a few deadlines and start sooner! I strategically placed Hero’s Guide in between two car seats in the back of the Mazda and drove off to school. It took about three seconds for 10-year-old Phoebe to discover the book, and once she did, that was it. All attempts to find out how her social studies test went that day: GONE. Ballet class that afternoon, something she usually enjoys? Merely something to endure to get back to reading. Which she did all the way home in the car, nose about one inch from book because the sun had set and she had no light, and for the next 24 waking hours straight. All 448 pages of the book were dispatched by bedtime the following night. The book tells the story of the four fairy tale princes who are often lumped together with the generic moniker “Prince Charming” and who are, it turns out, resentful about this. In Phoebe’s words “You’d never expect the princes to be this interesting because they’re usually the most boring characters in the Princess books!” Myles goes into more detail about the plot on his site but the underlying premise is all you really need to know to be hooked: When Prince Gustav, Liam, Frederic, and Duncan (yes, they have real names!) find their kingdoms are endangered, they set about on a joint adventure to establish themselves as real heroes — battling trolls and witches and…their wives, the princesses themselves. I’m pretty sure it’s going to be the birthday gift for all my daughters’ friends for the next two years.
What else is going on? A Friday round-up:
Do you guys know this site, Kids in Mind? You type in any movie and it gives you a very clinical play-by-play of anything that could possibly be inappropriate for your kid. It doesn’t editorialize at all. It just presents the facts. I’ve been relying on it heavily.
How much do I love a good leaving-the-rat-race story…especially when a dairy farm is involved? A lot.
Healthy Hot Dogs in time for Memorial Day grilling. Or…for dinner tonight actually.
I’m really late to the party on this, but I can’t believe Alec Baldwin has his own podcast on WNYC! (Just when I thought I couldn’t love him more.) I just listened to his interview with Kristen Wiig while I was running and it made the usually brutal three miles fly by.
A quote from Daily Show most senior correspondent Samantha Bee made my year: This book…”gives me hope that one day my family will also assemble around an actual table and eat an actual meal that was actually cooked by me; a meal not solely comprised of animal shaped cheese crackers dipped in peanut butter. Although those are good too.” Don’t you think you need to own the book she’s talking about?
Andy: Close your eyes. Everyone else: Some version of these will be gifted on Father’s Day or Birthday or for our Anniversary or maybe even all three.
Rules to Help Avoid Dressing Like Your Kids, by one of my favorite writers Sally Schultheiss. (I’m guilty of almost all the offenses.)
In honor of what would’ve been Julia Child’s 100th birthday: A biography of the master (with recipes) geared towards children. (I’d say it’s always a good sign when a kids’ cookbook is compared to Fanny at Chez Panisse.)
And look what nice little thing popped up on my Shelf Awareness newsletter this week. Click on the banner to check out their giveaway.
Lastly, if you’re following me on Twitter and have something nice to say about the book, please use #dalsbook so I can find it and thank you.
Have a great weekend!