Yo, Vikings!


Yo-wee-o! In a milestone picture book, author-illustrator Judith Byron Schachner brings us an inspiring story about making dreams come true, seasoned with a hearty helping of heroic Viking history and lore.

Emma is excited as she starts to read about Erik the Red for a school report on world explorers. The excitement grows to epic proportions when she sets her sights on obtaining a real Viking ship. With a tinfoil helmet, a fighting spirit, and the help of a kindly librarian, ...

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Yo-wee-o! In a milestone picture book, author-illustrator Judith Byron Schachner brings us an inspiring story about making dreams come true, seasoned with a hearty helping of heroic Viking history and lore.

Emma is excited as she starts to read about Erik the Red for a school report on world explorers. The excitement grows to epic proportions when she sets her sights on obtaining a real Viking ship. With a tinfoil helmet, a fighting spirit, and the help of a kindly librarian, she hatches a plan . . . and amazes her entire town when an authentic, dragon-prowed ship arrives in her backyard!

Rich with details and humor in art and text, this is a tale about the magic of discovery and how far imagination, fueled by knowledge, can take one determined little girl.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Expressive and bursting with life, Schachner's (Mr. Emerson's Cook) artwork sweeps readers into a story based, surprisingly, on a real incident involving her daughter. Emma has an imagination that won't quit, and when she has to prepare a report about Viking explorer Erik the Red, she's off and running on a voyage of discovery: "Emma spent every day after school at the library plundering the shelves for more Viking books." The more she learns, the more seeps into her journal and her everyday life she makes a Viking helmet from tinfoil, hands her brother a painted stone ("It's a rune," she informs him) and renames herself Emma the Red. After the librarian shows her a newspaper ad for a 29-foot Viking ship ($7000 or best offer), Emma and her brother write to the owner proposing to pay $128, two baseball cards and a fox tooth. No one believes her when she announces she's getting a Viking ship for her birthday ("Emma makes everything up," scoffs one classmate), but in fact it's exactly what happens, and the Viking ship arrives in her backyard along with a TV news crew and all of Emma's classmates dressed as Vikings. "See, Ollie," Emma tells her brother. "Dreams do come true." Schachner artfully crowds the slightly oversize pages with detail. Warmly realistic family scenes coexist with Emma's energetic fantasies, the latter delineated as colorful, vibrant images emerging from books and journals. This buoyant book will likely launch readers on adventures of their own. Ages 5-9. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
The lengthy tale of how young Emma acquires a Viking ship in her backyard would be far-fetched, but is based on a real event. Emma, who initially believes she is a fox, is also a talented artist. In researching for a school report with the help of Mr.Sigurd, the librarian, she becomes Emma the Red, Viking Explorer. When he shows her an ad for a Viking ship for sale, she and her brother Ollie make an offer, and her imagination soars. Incredibly, as the neighborhood watches, the ship arrives, and as Emma tells Ollie, "Dreams do come true." This exuberantly imaginative tale begins across the jacket/cover with the colored naturalistic drawing of an over-packed Viking ship, Emma up front hugging the fierce red dragon prow as it sails. The illustrations zestfully intermix her creative visions with realistic scenes of her friends and neighborhood. Factual notes and a bibliography on Vikings are included. 2002, Dutton Children's Books/ Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers,
— Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal
K-Gr 2-Emma loves to pretend, and has in turn been Robin Hood, a raptor, and a ring-tailed lemur. As the story opens, she sports a red bushy tail and pointed ears for her current incarnation as a fox. When she must give a speech about an explorer for a class assignment, Emma chooses Erik the Red. She goes off to the library for research, where Mr. Sigurd shows her a row of "Very Old Books," presumably the best place to find historical information. The child is fascinated when she reads about the Vikings, but at no point does she uncover the facts that Erik the Red fled first Norway and then Iceland charged with murder or that those "magical ships" were primarily used to raid and terrorize the English coast. She has now traded in her fox ears for a tinfoil Viking helmet-except that it has horns, a common misconception. Some of the youngster's fascination stems from Norse mythology, but the distinction between history and myth is never delineated. The end of the story, where Emma manages to have a Viking ship delivered to her backyard on her birthday, is totally implausible. The illustrations swirl frenetically across the pages, only adding to the already rampant confusion. Fantasy and reality do not blend here; they clash.-Grace Oliff, Ann Blanche Smith School, Hillsdale, NJ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
A seemingly outrageous fantasy comes at least partly true for imaginative Emma when she's able to purchase an actual Viking ship. A school project requires students to do reports on famous explorers; Emma's is Erik the Red. She throws herself into the task, taking on his persona and donning Viking-esque garb as she researches his life and the culture of the Vikings with the help of her friendly librarian, Mr. Sigurd, who may have a little Viking blood in him himself. After giving her report, Mr. Sigurd shows Emma an advertisement for a Viking ship for sale for $7,000. After cobbling together $128, Emma writes to the sellers, begging them to consider selling her the ship rather than junking it; and remarkably, they agree. Children may not find a story about an imaginative girl on a quest for a used Viking ship particularly compelling or realistic, but the collage-style illustrations add a great deal of appeal and interest. They feature a trove of finds for observant readers, such as real books by the author on Mr. Sigurd's shelves and books by other favorite authors in the library and in Emma's room, Emma's T-shirt reading "Leif Landed First," a T-shirt on a gossipy schoolmate featuring a cat and the word "Ouch," and snippets of maps and reference entries to Scandinavian lands used as clothing patterns. An author's note includes facts about Vikings, a bit about the background of the story (the authors' daughters really did procure a Viking ship from a Leif Ericsson organization), and a list of sources for further reading. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525468899
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Edition description: 1ST
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 1,419,698
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.31 (w) x 12.28 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Schachner
Judy Schachner

Judith Byron Schachner lives in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania.

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