________________ CM . . . . Volume VIII Number 15 . . . . March 29, 2002

cover Adventures with the Vikings. (Good Times Travel Agency).

Linda Bailey. Illustrated by Bill Slavin.
Toronto, ON: Kids Can Press, 2001.
48 pp., pbk. & cl., $8.95 (pbk.), $14.95 (cl.).
ISBN 1-55074-544-1 (pbk.), ISBN 1-55074-542-5 (cl.).

Subject Headings:
Civilization, Viking-Juvenile literature.
Vikings-Juvenile literature.

Grades 3-7 / Ages 8-12.

Review by Dave Jenkinson.

**** /4


The Thing turned out to be a big gathering of Vikings. It was a lot more interesting than the farm - especially when the Vikings held a trial.

A Viking Thing

What kind of thing is a Viking Thing?

It's an outdoor assembly of all the free men of the district who own a certain amount of property. They meet to make laws and to punish law-breakers. They can also elect chieftain and kings.

The voting is easy. To vote "yes," just rattle your weapons together. Do it loudly so that everyone will hear.

Viking laws aren't written down, so somebody has to remember them. That's why they have the law-speaker, a man who memorizes all the laws and shouts them loud for everyone to hear.

The third volume in the "Good Times Travel Agency" series finds the Binkerton twins, Josh and Emma, along with their little sister, Libby, once again visiting Julian T. Pettigrew's "Good Times Travel Agency" where Libby takes a hold of "Julian T. Pettigrew's Personal Guide to the VIKINGS." As the book's cover indicates,:

inside art

Open this book and
your journey's begun.
Read every word and
your journey is done.

     Having already experienced ancient Egypt and the Middle Ages, the Binkerton twins realize that they and their little sister will be transported back into Viking times, some 1000 years ago, where they will remain and experience Viking life until they can finish reading the contents of Pettigrew's book at which time they will be returned to the present. Readers familiar with Bailey's previous books in the series will recognize the familiar format. The bottom portions of most of the pages are given over to "pages" from Pettigrew's book which provide factual information about aspects of Viking life. In comic book style, Slavin's cartoon-like illustrations occupy most of the space on each real page with narration boxes and speech bubbles carrying the volume's fiction portion. As expected, the children get themselves into a jam with two of them stowing away on a Viking longship while the third Binkerton mistakenly boards a cargo vessel. However, all ends well as the children are reunited and finally manage to complete the reading of the book.

     History-phobic readers and/or reluctant readers will appreciate this wonderful blend of illustrated story and fact book. Slavin's comic illustrations, while quite entertaining, also surreptitiously manage to incorporate a great deal of information. The factual portions, in the guise of pages from Pettigrew's book, present information in 21 nonthreatening, thematically organized bite-sized pieces. A concluding text page provides more information about the Vikings as well as a map showing where the Vikings travelled.

Highly Recommended.

Dave Jenkinson teaches courses in children's and adolescent literature in the Faculty of Education, University of Manitoba.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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Published by
The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364