Wednesday 3 August 2011

The Last Viking

The Last Viking The Last Viking by Norman Jorgensen, illustrated by James Foley (Fremantle Press)
HB RRP $24.95
ISBN 9781921888106
Reviewed by Neridah McMullin

The Last Viking is a warm and funny book about being brave and what can happen when you truly believe in something with all your heart. Good things follow, that’s for sure.

Our protagonist is Josh, whose Grandfather gives him a book about all Vikings. There’s a really cool non-fiction section within the story that gives all sort of information about Vikings and their lives and this is what Josh decides to be – a Viking.

Josh becomes K-nut the Viking and takes all Viking matters very seriously. Inspired to follow his Viking heart, he soon faces his biggest challenge – how to outwit the local bullies.

Throwing caution to the wind, K-nut is a brave as his word and the mighty Vikings Gods hear his battle cry. They’re delighted someone is taking an interest in worshipping the Viking ways again!

So when Josh is confronted by the bullies (his Nan thinks they should come for cordial!) the Viking Gods deliver a thundering storm full of lightning and menace that scares the living wits out of the bullies.

There’s so much detail in James Foley’s illustrations that every time you read this, you will pick up something new. The emotion on Josh’s face is so real and tangible and his little dog Wolverine is hilarious.

Norman Jorgensen’s words and James Foley’s illustrations are a perfect match in complimenting each other. As with all good picture books, the words allow room for the illustrator use expressive artwork to expand and add meaning to the story.

There are wonderfully creative Teaching Resources available on Fremantle Press’s website and on Norman Jorgensen’s author website relating to the story, children will have a ball building a Viking longboat and applying the rune alphabet write their own secret messages and codes.

The illustrator, James Foley has a blog called, and this gives a fascinating look at his journey in creating the artwork for this picture book.

This is a highly recommended read for primary school readers.

Neridah McMullin is the author of two books for children. Her next book is an Indigenous folklore story called 'Kick it to me!'. It’s an ‘aussie rules’ story that’s being endorsed by the Australian Football League. Neridah loves family, footy, and doing yoga with her cat Carlos (who also loves footy!)

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