Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Race of the Birkebeiners

The Race of the Birkebeiners

Fall 2001 Picture Books
Ages: 5 - 9 yrs.
Author: Lise Lunge-Larson
Illustrator: Mary Azarian
ISBN: 0-618-10313-9
Hardcover Price: $16.00
This stark, sparely-written tale is a based on a 13th century saga. It tells of the rescue of an infant Norwegian prince in a dark era when "rich nobles and false bishops" pitted their wealth and power against a band of peasant warriors, "the fiercest and bravest . . . that ever lived in Norway." It is a wintry saga dominated by a blinding snowstorm "high above the tree line, where nothing blocked the force of the wind and the snow. They [the peasant fighters] could barely see the tips of their own skis." Ultimately, the good guys win, and the infant prince Hakon grows up to become "the most powerful king that Norway had during the Middle Ages." Artist Mary Azarian has captured the cold beauty of the landscape as well as the dogged determination of the warriors. Her handsome, hand-tinted woodcuts magically transport the viewer back to the year 1206 when the harsh, heroic tale begins.
Selma G. Lanes   ©2001 Parents' Choice

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