This book isn’t so much Norse gods as plain ordinary Vikings, and very well researched they are too. Should be, with a modern Viking at the helm of the illustrations of Viking Longship. Brita Granström, whom I met at the Jacqueline Wilson launch at Seven Stories in October, and her husband Mick Manning have written about ordinary Vikings.
I’ve read other stories about Vikings, but it’s harder than you think to visualise things without pictures, so Brita’s illustrations really do make a difference. This story features Grim and his family and other people around them, as well as a longship, which can be ‘carried’ across land if necessary. If you ever need to do that, this book has useful instructions.
The Vikings weren’t terribly nice, I’m sorry to say. I’d like them to be, but they attack others and they steal and enslave. There is information on warrior training, which might explain how they became so good at being so bad.
Grim and his lot invade England and settle near Jorvik. It’s interesting to see how women and children make camp near where the men fight, and then we see how they build more permanent homes. Lots of domestic detail, from doing the ironing (?) to a recipe for Birka bread.
And then it’s Yule (as it almost is here and now, too)
But nothing lasts forever, so the Saxons come and do equally bad things to the Vikings, and it all ends with a Viking funeral.
Excellent book for anyone who wants to know how and what and why. It looks easy, but I suspect there was a lot of work involved in making this book.