Reading/Interest Level: Primary, Intermediate
Author: Anita Ganeri
Illustrator: Mariano Epelbaum
Publisher: Hungry Tomato
This picture book follows the adventures of Olaf Sharpaxe, a the son of the local jarl (earl), as he goes on his first raid as a Viking. Olaf introduces the history and lifestyle of Viking raiders as he prepares and trains in preparation, giving readers a first-hand look at Viking weapons, equipment, and customs, including the life stories of famous Vikings. He and his clan build longships, successfully raid a monastery and capture treasure and prisoners, fight the Scots, participate in Viking funerary rites, and explain the Viking afterlife.
Like other books in this series, the “day in the life of” type narrative is accompanied by short text boxes that provide additional facts and information. The colorful illustrations of Olaf’s transformation into a fully-fledged raider are a delight, and it is clear that the artist and author collaborated well on their research together. Although some of the subject matter could be considered grim, the cartoonish artwork and upbeat delivery keep it lighthearted and fun. A short glossary and list of facts in the back of the book contains further information, making this an excellent resource for young readers.