Wednesday, March 21, 2007

LORDS OF THE SEA: The Vikings Explore the North Atlantic

Sorry for the version of the picture.
I couldn't find a large enough picture
for the English version.

FORMAT: Reinforced Library Binding
PUBLISHER: Capstone Press
AUTHOR: Allison Lassieur
ILLUSTRATOR: Ron Frenz and Charles Barnett III
GENRE: Historical Non-Fiction

The explorations of the Vikings in the North Atlantic.

  • Naddod
  • Floki
  • Eric the Red (Eric Thorvaldsson)
  • Bjarni Harjolfsson
  • Leif Eriksson
  • Thorvald Eriksson
  • Inuits
  • Thorfinn Karlsefni

The Vikings lived in Scandinavia in 700 CE. Eventually, they felt the need to explore and find new lands. They used their strong, fast ships to sail the North Atlantic in search of new lands and to set up new colonies. They landed in England, Canada, Greenland and Iceland. Leif Eriksson and his crew were the first Europeans to land in North America. This is not an in-depth or detailed look at the Vikings, but rather a glossing over of their major explorations.

Penned by Allison Lassieur with consultations from Roland Thorstensson, Ph.D., who is a professor of Scandinavian Studies at Gustavus Adophus College in St. Paul, Minnesota, this book is a nice presentation of non-fiction information about the Vikings. It dispels myths such as Vikings wearing horns and talks about their explorations, problems with farming, and interactions with native populations. There are facts about Vikings at the end of the book, a glossary of terms, internet sites for more information as well as recommended reading lists.

The illustrations by Ron Frenz and Charles Barnett III are very bright with medium ink strokes. The cover are is representative of the art inside. There are no more than three panels per page, but the average is one or two, making this a good book for a wide range of readers.

My Rating: All Ages, 8 and older preferred
Publisher’s Reading Level: Grades 3-4 (ages 8-10)
Publisher’s Interest Level: Grades 3-9 (ages 8-15)

Considering the vocabulary, most kids will want to be around 8-years-old or so before beginning this book. That is not to say that younger and older readers will not be interested. The comic itself is only 27 pages long and with an average of two panels per page, it should not be too overwhelming for most kids.

This book is perfect for a technology-based elementary classroom. The students have ample opportunities to use the Internet for further research. The book uses FactHOund to help located appropriate Internet sites for children. The FactHound code is 0736849742. Problems with the Inuit was a problem for more than one Viking settlement as was the harsh winters and poor soils. They were a very curious culture, and were always looking to find new lands, making for great classroom discussions. The book leaves other questions open that is perfect for more investigation by students such as why their boats were so fast and why books always portray them with horns on their helmets, when they did not really wear them. It would also be interesting to know what crops they planted and other cultural issues.

The story gives a very basic understanding of the explorations of the Vikings, and it would not serve as a stand alone unit on all things Viking., but it will be an excellent source to capture the interests of the students and to incite a question and answer session. The Capstone website offers a list of the state standards that this book will meet. One simply need pick his or her state from the pulldown menu and click on the state standards button. There is a list of four Communication Arts Frameworks listed for the Missouri State Standards: K-4, Grade 3, Grade 4 and Grade 5.

AR Quiz Number: 101372
ATOS Level: 3.3
Guided Reading Level: S

This company publishes many different historical and biographical graphic novels. Following is a short sampling of the many graphic novels Capstone offers:
  • Benjamin Franklin: An American Genius
  • Booker T. Washington: Great American Educator
  • Eleanor Roosevelt: First Lady of the World
  • Elizabeth Cady Stanton: Women’s Rights Pioneer
  • The Adventures of Marco Polo
  • The Battle of the Alamo
  • Betsy Ross and the American Flag
  • The Boston Tea Party
  • The Curse of King Tut’s Tomb
  • Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad
  • The Salem Witch Trials


History is one of the subjects that is frequently reported as boring by young students. Many times the subject is taught through lecture and memorization of dates, rather than of concepts and understanding. The Graphic Library series of books offers a more interesting form of History for children to learn about. Combined with technology, many subjects could come alive for students.

No comments: