Disclaimer: I rec’d a review copy of this e-book; I rec’d no other compensation and only promised to published an honest critique of this work of fiction.

Stout Hearts and Whizzing Biscuits

What would happen if your father sold up everything, moved you out into the middle of nowhere, and then next thing you know you stumble upon a world populated by Potawatomi, Knights of the Blue Socks, and an antique Studebaker?

Well, this is exactly what happens to Oliver Stoop, the hero of Stout Hearts and Whizzing Biscuits. Oliver, an only child in a slightly dysfunctional family, is a loner, a reader and a dreamer. But his dreams are not even close to the adventures he has in the world of Patria … a country that is in the United States but not part of the United States, an unknown country that has existed since the time of Leif Erickson and the Vikings. In the process of discovering this new land, Oliver befriends Prince Farnsworth Vesuvius (who carries around the Magna-Pneumatic Whizzing Biscuit Blaster) and Princess Rose (the baker of the title biscuits) and then must decide where his loyalties lay when the Knights of the Blue Socks decide to physically oust the Stoops.

This is a great adventure story by Daniel McInerny, homeschooling dad and son of author/Notre Dame professor, Ralph McInerny. I read this aloud to my 9, 11, and 12 year olds and we all enjoyed it … after puzzling through the first quarter of the book. The beginning is a bit confusing and bizarre, but once you get past these first two/three chapters, the story gets really interesting. The overall plot and characters are original and lots of fun. This makes a fabulous read-aloud as there are many word-plays and turns-of-phrase that are delightful to read … and discuss with the listeners.

Stout Hearts is the first book in the Patria series that McInerny is writing (the next installment is due out on December 1st). He’s got a wonderful web-site, The Kingdom of Patria, with Ted Schluenderfritz’s signature graphics, that adds to the overall enjoyment of this newly discovered, ancient country of Patria. The website includes links to a sample chapter and a delightful blog with posts from the book’s characters. This is just pure fun. From the map on the website (and shown below), you can see that McInerny has great plans for this unknown couuntry in the wilds of Indiana.

The Kingdom of Patria

I highly recommend this new book — it makes a wonderful family read-aloud with lots of good, old-fashioned fun!

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