The Best-Ever Adventure
by Eric Artisan
Eric Artisan Books

"Their kingdom was the most wonderful place and they had everything their hearts desired."

A young prince and princess live in an ideal world where they can do as they please, and everything they do pleases them. However, soon they begin to feel a longing to experience “everything.” They consult the wizard, who asks them if they are sure they want to undertake such an adventure, cautioning them that in order to experience everything, they must go through the bad as well as the good. The two don’t even know what the word “bad” means and take “good” for granted, but the mixture somehow sounds exciting. The old wizard mixes a potion for them to drink, advising them to act like ordinary people as they confront the new land. Soon they are on a little boat and travel to separate places and live different lives.

Each finds that life is now extremely strange and even, at times, quite challenging. For example, the princess isn’t used to school and can’t seem to get good grades. The prince becomes an outcast, fighting for what he needs. At times he sleeps out in an alley. But then the princess discovers music, becoming a street busker, an activity she finds enjoyable. Meanwhile, the prince starts a life of solitude and self-sufficiency on a little homestead. However, he will have to serve in the military, and the princess will suffer the pangs of stage fright as she moves up in the music milieu. Both find that being kind to others in need produces positive feelings, and they enjoy meeting people of all types. They feel emotions new to them, such as sadness, selfishness, hope, and joy. Both live long lives in the realm of everything, and both pass away. But not long after, they awake in their beds, back in their pleasant kingdom, still young and happy to be back together.

Artisan, an award-winning author and artist, has polished this work as a rare gem, with illustrations so filled with color, texture, and detail that each is a story in itself. He has designed it to be read to younger children, from age five onwards, and readable by older ones. It is an enchanting fable, worthy almost of Aesop, with its dedication to the symbolism of seeking and the nuance of rebirth. Readers will see that the two royals first reject the idea of ever returning to the world of their adventure and then feel almost mystically drawn to do so by the allure of living better next time. The princess imagines taking up martial arts and studying to become a surgeon, while the prince sees himself as an astronaut or maybe a rock star. They are back in the boat again, “knowing they would always return home.” The book’s subtle lesson is that negative experiences can have a positive outcome if we don’t give up, if we try again. Artisan has created an engaging parable to be shared with all youngsters, who will be drawn into the story by the colorful illustrations and the simple but meaningful text. After reading this book, they will undoubtedly want to start on their own best-ever adventures.

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