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Adventures from the Land of Stories Boxed Set
The Mother Goose Diaries and Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Royalty
By Chris Colfer
Formats and Prices
- ebook (Digital original) $12.99 $16.99 CAD
- Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
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From New York Times bestselling author Chris Colfer comes two new books about two beloved characters, Mother Goose and Queen Red Riding Hood. Mother Goose’s diary entries over the last five hundred years take readers on a journey to learn buried secrets; and the young queen gives us her take on politics, government, health, love, and of course, what it means to be royalty.
Table of Contents
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The Prince and Me
Fellow Hoodians, admirers, royal subjects, and royal rejects. Thank you for choosing my first book, Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Royalty, as your reading selection. I can't imagine the anticipation, enthusiasm, and admiration coursing through your feeble bodies as you hold your very own copy. Before you excite yourself to the point of needing medical attention, I must thank you for the hours and/or days I assume you waited in line to purchase it. And to ease those uncontrollable thoughts of unconditional gratitude, just know the pleasure is all mine!
I'm certain your simple minds are all wondering the same thing. "Why would our astonishing queen go out of her way to write a book?" I thought the same thing when I first sat down to write it. The truth is, wherever I go, there are always crowds of devoted followers asking me the same questions: "Your Majesty, how do you do it? How do you manage to govern a prosperous kingdom, endure countless adventures, and maintain such beauty and poise so effortlessly?" Since I do not have the time (or the patience) to respond to each individual, I decided to compile my numerous secrets into this book to answer all your pressing questions at once. You're welcome.
The idea first came to me one evening while I was lounging in my newly refurnished library. I had just finished a charming and silly little play called Hamhead by William Shakyfruit—excuse me, Hamlet by William Shakespeare. I was looking for another humorous read from the Otherworld when I came upon a delightful book called The Prince by Nicole Macarena—or was it Niccolò Machiavelli? Well, whatever her name was, I thought it was a splendid story! In summary, The Prince was a guide to monarchy! Isn't that marvelous? It gave helpful hints on managing a government, making the proper alliances, and keeping respectable appearances. The best part of reading the book was realizing I've been doing everything correctly since my coronation! Although I doubt that surprises you.
However helpful Ms. Machiavelli's words were, I couldn't help feeling her book was a little outdated. It may have had its purpose at one point in time, but it isn't relevant to politics today—just like ruffled bloomers (more on that in my next book, Queen Red Riding Hood's Guide to Style).
Since I am the beacon of ideal leadership, I felt it was my duty to give the seminal classic a makeover! Who else could possibly be qualified for the job? For the next several minutes, or however long it takes to write a book, I will combine the concepts of The Prince with the constant requests of my people and create my own guide for future royals to follow and future royalists to treasure. Again, you're welcome.
History will see this guide as one of the greatest literary achievements of our time, because as queen, I have control over what history remembers. So, curl up with your copy in a cozy corner of your own library. Give your servants a list of meaningless tasks so that you aren't bothered. If you have children, tell your nannies to keep them at a ballroom's-length distance. Give your House of Parliament, Congress, or Progress the day off. Relax and enjoy this historical triumph!
Beneath the Hood
I believe that, before taking advice from someone, it's important to know exactly whom you're taking the advice from. So before we dive into matters of economy, politics, image, charity, and all the other nonsense a king or queen deals with, it's important that I introduce you to the real me.
Naturally, this may confuse your delicate heads. After all, my profile is engraved on every coin, statues of me stand on every street corner, and I'm certain my portraits decorate your modest homes. You couldn't be unfamiliar with me if you tried! However, the familiarity I speak of has nothing to do with my exquisite appearance: I'm talking about the woman beneath the hood.
For the first time in my reign, I'm going to give you, my people, a glimpse into my personal life, my mind, my heart, and my impeccable soul. My past may be one of the greatest stories ever told, but rarely do I speak about it myself—unless you work at the castle; then you may hear me reminiscing two or three times a day.
There is more to my story than you realize, and once I share it with you, I believe you'll admire me even more than you do now. Yes, it's possible.
This will be hard to believe, but I was once as you are now. Just like Cinderella, I was an exceptional young girl cursed by humble beginnings. I was born to two simple farmers in the Northern Kingdom, long before the C.R.A.W.L. Revolution separated us from the north (more on that in a moment—please stay focused!). My parents mistreated me horribly, which is why I've chosen to distance myself from them today.
It saddens me to tell you that my childhood was filled with misery. Every morning I was forced out of bed before noon and ordered to do horrific tasks like chores and schoolwork. I was assaulted by rules and standards. I was restricted with curfews and bedtimes. Every day, my mother and father would say horrible things to me, like "you can't have that" and "no."
Despite my declarations that I deserved much better treatment, my parents ignored me, and the nightmare continued. As an only child, I had to endure it all alone. My parents must have known deep down I was extraordinary, because whenever I asked if I was going to have any brothers or sisters, they'd reply, "You're enough."
Unlike Cinderella, I did not let my unfortunate origins affect my sanity—you'll never see me talking to mice! Despite the mistreatment I received from my parents, I never stopped believing I was meant for bigger things (and I'm not talking about that summer when I gained weight and needed new clothes).
My weekend visits to my granny's house were my only sanctuary from my terrible home life. Granny never treated me like a servant or a prisoner but saw me as the exceptional human being I am. She treated me to candies, toys, and naps. She offered me the compassion and respect my early years were missing, always saying encouraging things like "have another cookie" and "yes." I honestly don't know how I would have survived without her.
Granny made my first hooded coat. She chose a fabric the exact color of my name and christened me Little Red Riding Hood. I think the coat helped her remember who I was when I showed up at her house. Poor Granny has never had the best memory.
In a serendipitous twist of fate, the people of my future kingdom were also suffering. The villages and farms of the Northern Kingdom were constantly under attack by wolves, with no salvation in sight. Queen Snow White's stepmother was on the throne at the time. She was so busy with her magic mirrors and attempted murder, she ignored her people's requests for protection—hence the name she is now remembered by: the Evil Queen.
When the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf was murdered, it was the last straw. The villagers and farmers banded together and started the C.R.A.W.L. (Citizens' Riots Against Wolf Liberty) Revolution with their sights set on establishing their own kingdom away from the Evil Queen's jurisdiction.
My granny was very active in the revolution and caught a nasty cold during one of the demonstrations—a hunger strike, if I recall. We knew she needed to get her strength up, so my mother packed a basket of goods and sent me to deliver it to Granny's house on the other side of the woods.
I would like to take a moment to reiterate this: My mother sent her only daughter into the woods alone in the midst of wolf attacks and a revolution! See what I mean? Terrible parenting! It was during this journey to Granny's house when I infamously encountered the Big Bad Wolf himself, and the rest of my extraordinary story took place.
While we're on the subject, I have something to get off my chest. Over the years, I have been criticized for telling the Big Bad Wolf that I was headed to my granny's house, followed by directions of how to get there. However, this should not be a testament to my judgment, but once again to bad parenting. My mother and father never sat me down and said, "Red, if you meet a wolf in the woods, don't give him your itinerary." If they actually cared about my well-being, they would have properly warned me.
And another thing! As I said earlier, my granny was involved in several revolutionary protests in those days—she was always dressing up in weird outfits! So when I walked into her bedroom and saw the Big Bad Wolf lying in her bed, I had no reason to believe it wasn't her! Any logical girl would have thought the same thing.
Phew! I'll sleep much better knowing I've put that in writing. I assume you know what happened next, but I'll tell you anyway.
The Big Bad Wolf gobbled me up in one bite and I met up with Granny in his stomach. We spent two days inside the wolf's belly, but it really wasn't as unpleasant as one would imagine. Once we got used to the smell, it was rather warm and comfortable. Luckily, Granny had managed to grab a deck of cards as the wolf swallowed her, so we improved our gambling skills as we awaited rescue.
Eventually, my parents grew concerned and asked a hunter to help them look for me. The hunter found the wolf at Granny's house in the exact spot he had eaten me. Apparently Granny and I were too much for him to digest and he was experiencing a miserable food coma. The hunter killed the wolf with one slice of his axe, and Granny and I fell out of him like candy out of a piñata.
By the time we were saved, the C.R.A.W.L. Revolution was over. The villagers and farmers had successfully separated from the Northern Kingdom. All they needed now was a name for the kingdom… and someone to lead them!
Word quickly spread through our unsupervised and unnamed kingdom about Granny's and my brave encounter with the Big Bad Wolf (probably because I told everyone who would listen). We were called before the C.R.A.W.L. Committee—which consisted of a farmer, a shepherdess, three village elders, and a chicken (I'm still not sure how the chicken was appointed). They were mesmerized by our story and felt we embodied the kingdom's struggles, so they asked Granny to be queen.
"Who? Me?" Granny said. "I'm not sure I'm up for all that pomp and circumstance. I don't have the hips for it."
"Then what about Billy Bopkins?" the farmer asked the committee. "He's got great leadership qualities and he's more respected than anyone else in my village."
"Billy Bopkins is a goat," the shepherdess said.
"Since when do we discriminate?" the farmer said.
"Perhaps someone young?" Granny suggested. "Forming a kingdom is going to take a lot of energy."
It was one of those moments that exist only in legends, fables, and Shakyfruit plays. The committee all turned and looked at me in unison, as if their eyes were drawn to me by a higher power. And by the way, it wasn't because I was jumping up and down, waving my arms above my head, and shouting, "Pick me! Pick me! Pick me!" That is a vicious rumor I would like to put to rest.
I knew I had to act fast before the committee put the kingdom's fate in the wrong hooves. I stepped forward, placed one hand over my heart and raised the other into the air, and recited my sacred oath as queen.
"I, fabulous Little Red Riding Hood, solemnly swear to govern this kingdom, to serve its people, and to guide it to prosperity, so help me God."
The committee stared at me with very blank expressions. I may not have been their first choice, but all of them were in awe of my natural instinct to take initiative. Clearly I was born to rule.
"All in favor of Queen Red Riding Hood, say aye," the shepherdess said.
The committee members looked at one another and shrugged. They couldn't name another candidate, because I was undoubtedly the best option.
"Aye!" the committee said in unison.
From that moment forward, Little Red Riding Hood ceased to exist. I became Her Royal Majesty, Queen Red Riding Hood! The world has been a better place ever since.
"What were you planning to name the kingdom?" Granny asked the committee.
"Well, it's in between all the other kingdoms, so why not call it the In-Between Kingdom?" the farmer asked.
"Absolutely not!" the shepherdess argued. "It should be called the C.R.A.W.L. Kingdom."
The rest of the committee liked this idea, except the chicken. I wasn't thrilled with the idea, either, so I politely cleared my throat before any eggs were laid in objection.
"Since I'm queen, shouldn't it be my decision?" I asked. "Hold on—I'm the queen! I don't need to ask your permission. I'll name the kingdom myself!"
Naming the kingdom was the hardest decision I've ever had to make as queen. I wanted our home to have the most magnificent name in the world. I wanted it to be something the people could be proud of and inspired by, something that could make all the other kingdoms envious.
"I've got it," I said. "We'll name it the Red Riding Hood Kingdom!"
The committee scrunched their brows, opened their mouths, and stared at me with large eyes. Obviously they were so impressed it rendered them speechless! Even my harshest critics couldn't deny the Red Riding Hood Kingdom had a nice ring to it. (The kingdom has since been renamed a few times, but we won't get into that.)
My first hours as queen were highly efficient. First, I assembled a group of royal subjects to assist me during my reign—the third Little Pig, BaaBaa Blacksheep, Miss Muffet, Jack Horner, the Three Blind Mice, the Little Old Woman from the Shoe Inn, and Granny, of course! Second, I demanded a wall be built around our kingdom so my people would never have to live in fear of wolves again (that one was Granny's idea).
Unfortunately, no proper venues had been built to host the coronation yet—so it took place in an old barn. Instead of jewelry and robes, I was crowned with a bucket and a dog's blanket. Instead of adoring citizens shouting "long live the queen," my crowning was followed by approving baas, neighs, and moos of the sheep, horses, and cows living in the barn. A lesser monarch would have let the experience belittle them, but it only influenced my third and most important act as queen: building the home and the wardrobe I deserved!
The best builders and designers were brought in from all over the kingdom and created my glorious castle and fantastic clothes. I finally lived and looked like a queen should. Peasants traveled from miles around just to get a glimpse of their beautiful ruler and pay their respects, not to mention shower me with compliments!
At last, I was leading the life I was destined for! Unfortunately, not everyone was as enthusiastic.
"They elected you what?" Father asked when I broke the news.
"Dad, I just told you I'm the queen now!" I said. "And from now on you must address me as Your Royal Majesty, Queen Red Riding Hood when you're in my presence."
"I don't understand," Mother said. (Then again, she never did.)
"Mom, I'm wearing twenty pounds of jewelry and arrived in a golden carriage. What part of queen don't you understand?"
"Are you still going to live with us?" Father asked.
"Of course not," I said. "They've built me a castle in the center of town."
"So are we coming to live with you?" Mother asked.
"Why? So you can continue your exploitation?" I said. "Absolutely not. As queen, I can't waste an ounce of my strength battling your mind games."
Praise for the Land of Stories Series:"It will hit big with its combination of earnestness and playful poise."—The New York Times Book Review
- "It's hard not to love [the book]...Colfer gets off many good lines [and] the nifty ending ties the plot's multiple strands up while leaving room for further fairy tale adventures."—Publishers Weekly
- "A magical debut."—Family Circle
- "Captivating."—Teen Vogue
- "In The Land of Stories, Colfer showcases his talent for crafting fancifully imaginative plots and multidimensional characters."—Los Angeles Times
- "There's more in Colfer's magic kingdoms than Disney has dreamt of."—USA Today
- On Sale
- Nov 24, 2015
- Page Count
- 256 pages
- Little, Brown Books for Young Readers