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About the Book
Title: Prince Iggy and the Kingdom of Naysayer | Author: Aldo Fynn | Illustrator: Richie Vicencio | Publication Date: November 5,2013 | Publisher: Boa Press, LLC. | Pages: 172 | Recommended Ages: 8 to 12
Summary: All Iggy Rose wants is for the kids at the Naysayer Academy to like him, and one special girl in particular. But instead, he gets teased and taunted. Every day, he eats alone in the cafeteria and gets beaten up after school on the playground. But when a cruel prank leads to Iggy’s escape from the academy, a wild, unimaginable adventure begins.
Why is King Naysayer offering a hefty reward for Iggy’s capture? When Iggy joins forces with an eclectic cast of characters, he discovers the answer. But before he can escape from the kingdom of Naysayer, Iggy must first reclaim what is rightfully his. Does this sad, lonely boy have the courage to battle the biggest school bully, a mean headmistress, and a greedy, cruel king? Will Iggy finally believe in himself and discover his true destiny?
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My Thoughts: Prince Iggy and the Kingdom of Naysayer is a fantastical romp featuring a most down-on-his-luck orphan who is tormented on a daily basis by the children of Naysayer Academy. Just when things could not get worse, the King of Naysayer pays the Academy a visit and wrestles Iggy’s most prized possession away from him: a beautiful silver ring with a red stone that Iggy has never removed since he was found as a baby washed up on the shore of the kingdom of Naysayer.
But things are about to change for Iggy as he is rescued by Captain Swell, who informs him that he is the long-lost Prince and heir to the throne of the distant Rose Kingdom. Enlisting the help of Miss Blackfeather the fortune teller, Professor Jones the inventor, and Henry O’Henry the poet, the motley crew sets out to recover the magical ring. Standing in their way is an army of rats searching for Iggy, Miss Spitfire, the villainous headmistress of the Academy, and an evil greedy king who wants to keep the power of the ring for himself.
Prince Iggy and the Kingdom of Naysayeris a quirky and entertaining read. The central character, Iggy, is the victim of vicious bullying by absolutely everyone in the Naysayer Academy. The author takes a no-holds barred approach to the bullying in the book – it gets nasty. With some books, I would be cringing through the descriptions of the horrible things that are said (e.g., “You’re the most useless kid that ever existed”) and done (e.g., thrown and locked into the school’s garbage pit) to Iggy; but, in this book, it goes with the fantasy rise-from-the-pits-of-despair fairy tale feel that had me cheering when Iggy comes out on top.
At the beginning of the story, we meet Iggy when he feels helpless and hopeless and expresses his wish to be anyone but himself. This is precisely what the consequence of relentless bullying is in real life. Iggy has internalized some of the sentiments expressed by the bullies (e.g., “you stink”, “you’re ugly”, “you’re stupid”, “I wish you didn’t exist”). As Iggy discovers he is a Prince, we see a change in his confidence as he accepts that the things the bullies have been saying are not true. I love how the author has woven this theme in the story.
The secondary characters in the book are all compelling, well-developed, and wonderfully quirky. There is a clear division between the “good guys” (i.e., Iggy, Captain Swell, Miss Blackfeather, Professor Jones, and Henry O’Henry) and the “bad guys” (i.e., the King of Naysayer, Miss Spitfire, and Teddy, a fellow student of Iggy’s and his main tormentor). This is very much a tale of the good guys versus the bad guys and my kids and I loved rooting for Iggy and his friends. The author did a great job of setting the story up this way and the illustrations peppering the text every few pages go even further in depicting the true nature of each of the characters.
Aside from the message about bullying and about developing self-esteem and self-confidence, there are components of magic and fantasy in the story. The ring, we learn, is magical although the full extent of its power is not quite known by the end of the book. Miss Spitfire also has the sole power (through her staff) to turn children into rats. Miss Blackfeather has a few magical powers as well, but there is so much more to learn about her. With the sprinkling of magic in the story, I can’t wait to see where the author goes next. When we were done reading, my son immediately said, “I want to read the next book. Can we get the next book?” I think that says it all, doesn’t it? Great read aloud book!
My Bottom Line: There is so much that is entertaining about Prince Iggy and the Kingdom of Naysayer. From the over-the-top characters, to the delightful rags-to-riches story, the laugh out loud scenes, and the magical and fantastical setting, this book is sure to be enjoyed by children and reluctant readers in particular ages 7 years and older. I highly recommend this quick read and we all can’t wait to read Book 2!
* This book was provided to me free-of-charge by the publisher in exchange for my honest opinion. All opinions expressed are my own. The author is participating in our Book Promotion Services.
“An entertaining fantasy with a quirky, inventive storyline that shows how things invariably turn out badly for bullies.” Kirkus Reviews
“The book is going to be devoured by readers of any type, whether they’re looking for some fun fiction, a comical read, or a page-turner.” 5 Star Review, San Francisco Book Review
“Fynn’s book reminded me a bit of Harry Potter, but he adds his own cast of characters and a boy (Iggy), fun dialogue, and an amazing story that you can’t help but root for. If you are looking for a great book to get your kids hooked on, then I recommend the Prince Iggy series.” 5 Star Review, The Pen and Muse Book Reviews, Amazon
“Has the flavor of a Dickens and a Harry Potter story while remaining wholly original. It just shares those characteristics that make it such an enjoyable read. This book should be on every child’s must read list and if I’m to be perfectly honest it should be on every adults list too. It has enough subtle adult humor well within its boundaries to make it an entertaining read for the parents too. It certainly has a modern message. It shows just how heartbreaking bullying can be by children as well as adults. It’s a story about losing yourself and finding yourself. It shows being a bully doesn’t pay off but believing in yourself does.” 5 Star Review, April S., Amazon
About the Author: Aldo Fynn
Aldo Fynn enjoys writing wacky, fantastical stories. Prince Iggy and the Kingdom of Naysayer is his debut novel. It’s the first book in the Adventures of Prince Iggy Series. He’s also written two wacky, laugh-out-loud picture books. He lives under his desk and promises he won’t come out until Book 3 in the series is complete. Which is a shame because his desk is based in Los Angeles, where it’s sunny and 70 degrees most of the year.
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