The Hiking Viking

(Author) (Illustrator)
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$17.99  $16.73
Capstone Editions
Publish Date
9.38 X 11.32 X 0.4 inches | 1.02 pounds

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About the Author
Laura Gehl is the author of 20 books for young readers, including One Big Pair of Underwear (Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended Title, International Literacy Association Honor Book, Booklist Books for Youth Editors' Choice); the Peep and Egg series (Parents' Choice Recommendation, Children's Choice Book Award Finalist); My Pillow Keeps Moving (Junior Library Guild selection, New York Public Library Best Books of 2018 selection); and I Got a Chicken for My Birthday (Kirkus Best Picture Books of 2018 selection). Her recent picture book, Except When They Don't, received a starred review from School Library Journal, and the fourth title in her Baby Scientist board book series, Baby Paleontologist, received a starred review from Kirkus. Gehl lives in Chevy Chase, Maryland, with her husband and four children.
Timothy Banks is an award-winning artist and illustrator from Charleston, South Carolina. He's created character designs for Nike, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network; quirky covers for Paste magazine; and lots of children's books with titles like There's A Norseman in My Classroom and The Frankenstein Journals. Also he's had the honor to be featured in Lurzer's Archive's "200 Best Illustrators Worldwide," and his work has been shown at Gallery Nucleus LA. He also recently wrote and illustrated a monster book opus for his hometown entitled Monsters in Charleston. You can find him most days painting and watching alligators swim by in his backyard.
Not every Viking wants to brawl and battle. Waifish and bright-eyed Leif would much rather peacefully hike the craggy hills around his Viking village than howl at the moon with the rest of his clan. While other Vikings his age, who are all big and burly, ask for spears and poleaxes for their birthdays, Leif requests a hiking stick. His mother tries to get him to wrestle, his father forces him to practice spear throwing, and his sister drags him off to practice lifting heavy rocks, because the Viking Games are approaching. Leif attempts to explain his love of nature to them, but they are having none of it. With the honor of his clan at stake, Leif gives the Games his best shot. When the competition ends in a tie, it is decided that whichever clan can show the judges "the greatest treasure by sunset will be the winner." Everyone rushes to fetch their finest booty, and it seems that the other clan will win...until Leif surprises the whole village with a treasure beyond all earthly goods. Gehl's tale relays its message about the value of self-authenticity and open-mindedness without being preachy. Banks' bright illustrations of White Scandinavians in a green, mountainous landscape are reminiscent of cutout animation, endowing each spread with an immersive motion-picture quality. (This book was reviewed digitally.) A neat Nordic tale about the importance of valuing nature--one's own and the world's. (Picture book. 2-7)-- "Kirkus Reviews"
Young Leif isn't like other Vikings. Rather than "battle and brawl," he prefers exploring the natural world. He doesn't want a spear or axe for his birthday but a hiking stick for his forays beyond the village to enjoy the fjord's quiet magnificence alone. However, the Viking Games are approaching, and, determined to win and protect their clan's honor, his family literally pull reluctant Leif into practicing. But on the day of the games, whether wrestling or stone lifting, Leif's efforts fall short. At the end of the day, his clan is tied with another, and the victor will be determined by whomever "can show us the greatest treasure." Turns out, Leif knows exactly what that is: the fjord at sunset, where "stone cliffs gleamed like polished silver . . . water below glittered with gold." Vibrant, animated illustrations blend over-the-top, often amusing depictions of the Viking characters and events with expansive, artful landscapes. Couched in a lively, entertaining read, the positive and supportive messages are evident, from the rewards of pursuing individual interests to discovering--and sharing--nature's beauties.--Shelle Rosenfeld "Booklist"
Young Leif the Viking is a classic outlier: "The other Vikings liked to battle and brawl," writes Gehl (Except When They Don't), "Leif didn't." Leif particularly loves wandering the fjords with his hiking stick ("It was beautiful. It was quiet. It was peaceful"), climbing to where pointy pines seem to touch the sky, water glistens below, and majestic stone hills turn magical shades of purple in the fading light. True to form, Leif turns in a tepid warrior-skills performance at the rambunctious Viking Games, even with the family honor at stake. But when it's announced that the champion will be "the clan that can show us the greatest treasure by sunset," Leif leads the light-skinned horde to his beloved fjords as the sun drops, winning the day as "the stone cliffs gleamed like polished silver./ The water below glittered with gold." Banks (A Valentine for Frankenstein) strikes a lovely balance between awe-inspiring landscapes, conveyed with light and texture, and Tex Avery-style figures whose comic angularity echoes the craggy beauty of the world they inhabit. It's a sweet-natured plea to get the heck outside--and appreciate the treasure at hand. Ages 4-8. (Feb.)-- "Publishers Weekly"