For my second Viking-themed post, I read Adventures with the Vikings, written by Linda Bailey and illustrated by Bill Slavin (2001, 48 pages), which is funny and informative. What more can you ask for? This the second book I’ve read from the Good Times Travel Agency series (see earlier post, Adventures in Ancient Egypt). The series includes six books, published between 2000 and 2004.
The premise of each book in this series is simple: twins Josh and Emma, along with their little sister Libby, get sent back in time via a magical travel guidebook. Some fun things happen to on their journey, some scary things happen, and at the end they make it back home just fine.
The upper three-fourths of each page is given to illustrations/narrations of the three kids’ adventures, and though I’m not a comic book fan, I think the drawings are great. The lower fourth of each page shows the words from the guidebook which provide factual information. The format works well.
The Binkerton twins, Josh and Emma, and their little sister, Libby, unwittingly stumble into the Good Times Travel Agency and are carried off on a trip they’ll never forget. First, the kids are stowaways on a Viking longship. Then, the Berserker, the most feared of Norse warriors, drags Josh along on a Viking raid. And Emma makes a plunder blunder that turns the siblings into slaves! Will the Binkertons’ latest saga come to an untimely end? Adventures with the Vikings mixes fact and fiction for fast, funny and fascinating romps through the past. Kids will adore the contemporary comic-book look, while parents, teachers and librarians will love the well-researched story lines and solid factual information.
If you want to learn Viking history in eleven minutes, you could do far worse than John Green’s summary:
Here is an excerpt from Adventures With the Vikings for those of you who are etymology fans :
If you want to meet a scary guy, say hello to the Berserker. Notice his outfit? The work “berserk” means bearskin. Berserkers are the most feared of all Viking warriers. Before going into battle, they get into a fighting rage. They howl like wolves. They leap like dogs. They grind their teeth and bite the edges of their shields.
Finally, for a bunch of Marvelous Middle-Grade book reviews, follow the links from Shannon Messenger’s blog.