The Last Viking, by Norman Jorgensen & James Foley

Young Josh is very brave.
He’s not afraid of anyone or anything – except maybe the dark and the sound of ghosts whistling in the trees at night.
Pirates worry him a bit, of course, and so do boy-eating dinosaurs, and monsters under the bed. He’s also just a little afraid of dragons and vampires.
But other than those few things, Josh is as brave as a lion.
Sort of.

Josh is scared of a lot of things – including going to stay at Nan and Pop’s house by himself. But once there, his Pop gives him a book about the wonderful world of Vikings and, as Josh reads, he decides that he, too will become a Viking. No longer is he timid Josh – now he is bold, brave Knut, Prince of the Vikings. Now he’s ready to face anything.

But when he encounters a bunch of bullies in the local park, Josh/Knut isn’t so sure he has what it takes to be a Viking. Only by digging deep – and perhaps with a little intervention from some Viking Gods – will he find his inner strength.

The Last Viking is a beautiful new picture book offering from the pairing of award winning author Norman Jorgensen and talented debut illustrator James Foley. The story is a lovely blend of gentle wisdom and fun, and the illustrations (a blend of pencil, ink and digital watercolour) are full of detail and layering that reveal more on each reading. The darkness of some of the Viking illustrations is cleverly offset by bright colours and humour in other illustrations, proving a satisfying blend.

A wonderful offering for pre and lower primary aged readers – and their adults.

The Last Viking

The Last Viking, by Norman Jorgensen & James Foley
Fremantle Press, 2011
ISBN 9781921888106

This book can be purchased in good bookstores or online from Fishpond.