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by Jon Scieszka & illustrated by Adam McCauley

Age Range: 7 - 10

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-670-89918-6
Publisher: Viking

Another adventure in history by the boys in the Time Warp Trio. This time they are back to the days of the Vikings, around the year 1000. Scieszka’s boys are wrenched from a video game called NFL Smash where players can make up their teams, smash the opponent, and do victory dances in the end zone. Joe, Sam, and Fred enjoy trash talking that comes with the territory. “Your team is so ugly, they have to sneak up on their mirror” and “Your team is so dumb, they went to the library for a book of matches.” Ridiculous and predictable adventures, ample lame jokes, and silliness punctuate the tale. A skald (or poet, if you are a little rusty on your Viking myths) narrates each battle or challenge with a short poetic recitation. The trash talk of the modern football game is picked up as Leif Eriksson and his enemy, Grim Snake-in-the-Grass, fight with words and real weapons. Their two skalds, Bullshik and Fulluvit (say it aloud), only act as a humorous diversion from the weak plot. When the boys get into the poem-telling act, their creations are exactly what will cause adult eyes to roll and little boys’ chuckles to begin: “Abracadabra / clink think / Nose picker / butt kicker / Zim zam / drink!” Scieszka fits in some interesting reference to the Valkyries, Valhalla, and the fortune-telling properties of runes among all the silliness, and manages to sneak in a lesson about word origins tied to the Norse gods. Light fare at best, Bullshik at worst. (Fiction. 7-10)