THE RACE OF THE BIRKEBEINERS by Lise Lunge-Larsen

THE RACE OF THE BIRKEBEINERS

by , illustrated by
Age Range: 5 - 9

KIRKUS REVIEW

Norwegian-born storyteller Lunge-Larsen (The Troll With No Heart in His Body, 1999, etc.) and Caldecott Medalist Azarian (A Gardener’s Alphabet, 2000, etc.) combine their considerable talents to retell a dramatic true story of the Norwegian Birkebeiners (“Birchleggers”), a group of medieval peasant warriors who wrapped birchbark around their legs in lieu of armor before going into battle. In 1206, two of the Birkebeiners saved the infant Prince Hakon by skiing across the mountains in a blizzard to escape a group of rich nobles and bishops who wanted the baby prince dead and their own king on the throne. Prince Hakon’s mother Inga also has an important role in the second part of the story when she proves through a medieval ritual that the baby is indeed the son of the recently deceased king. The baby became one of Norway’s most famous kings, and the Birkebeiner ski race is still reenacted annually in both Norway and the US. Lunge-Larsen relates the story with the dramatic flair of a professional storyteller, and Azarian’s dazzling handtinted woodcuts provide a natural artistic accompaniment to a story set in the Middle Ages. The oversized format offers many full-bleed spreads with text set against icy blue snow or sky, and full pages of text bordered with Scandinavian designs reminiscent of richly embroidered ribbon. (author’s note, bibliography) (Folktale. 5-9)

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-618-10313-9
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1st, 2001




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