Thank you Jolly Fish Press for the review copy of A VIKING ADVENTURE (Histronauts), a Middle Grade creative nonfiction graphic novel written by Frances Durkin and illustrated by Grace Cooke. All opinions are my own.
Trio ten-year-old Newton, eight-year-old Luna, and seven-and-a-half-year-old Nani, plus their endearingly crabby cat Hero, are back for another time traveling adventure!
After finding a mysterious coin, the Histronauts find themselves in a fjord in the Middle Ages, where they befriend a girl named Solveig who struggles with an unruly fish.
They tour a Viking village, learn about Viking trades and architecture. go on a raid (more on that below), and enjoy a holiday feast with Solveig and her family before going home.
With a name like Histronauts, this volume is unapologetically creative non-fiction, but there are so many “cool” facts woven into the history – Vikings slept sitting up and beleived their runic alphabet to be magical – that the reader may forget this book is good for their brain.
Woven in with the story are some mazes and puzzles, which is a neat interactive element. Don’t let the graphic novel format fool you – A VIKING ADVENTURE is an information-dense text.
Except the Histronauts have to kick the hands-on learning up a whole other level with various Viking-themed DIY activities:
How interesting/engaging was this book? Bodily functions were not mentioned once, and my eight-year-old boy still loved it.
Saving the best for last, this is what got my most respect: VIKINGS does not shy away from the fact that the real-life Vikings’ raids brought a lot of violence and pain to the receiving villages.
The pictures and language are kid-friendly, but firmly lay the groundwork for kids to begin to understand not only the painful histories of many countries, but that the concept of right and wrong can be different across cultures.
YMMV, but my eight-year-old got frustrated by the Viking words, which are largely “buy-a-vowel” tongue-twisters. To be fair, four out of five people would forgive a Black-white biracial American kid born in the 2010s, for having a shaky command of Old Norse.
What say you, Histronauts fans?
A VIKING ADVENTURE (Histronauts) is out now.