Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Tale of King Harald: The Last Viking Adventure by Thomas J.T Williams and Gilli Allan (British Museum Children's Books)

The Tale of King Harald: The Last Viking Adventure

Written by Thomas J.T Williams
Illustrated by Gilli Allan

Published by British Museum Children's Books

We're nuts about history, and we've been fortunate enough to look at some brilliant children's books that delve deep into our past. We're also very lucky that Oxford has a fantastic collection of brilliant museums that we can get to, if the rain stops us getting out into the countryside.

One trend we've noticed in children's history books is that most books rely on some fairly cheap gags, or gross-out grimness to convey their message so it's actually a refreshing change to take a look at a book that examines historical artifacts, and factual figures who left their mark on the world in their own unique way.

The British Museum Press's "The Tale of King Harald: The Last Viking Adventure" is just such a book, telling an exciting adventure tale part based on factual events, aided with fantastic ink-and-linework illustrations rather than the usual cartoony fare we're used to. Aimed at children older than Charlotte ideally (8 and upwards), it details the life and times of Harald Sigurdsson, the last king of the Vikings. From fairly humble beginnings, he rose to become one of the most prominent explorers and warriors of his era, leading his people on dangerous quests and into battle.

Harald's remarkable story inspired us to visit our local museum to find out a little bit more about the Vikings, and see how artifacts we've found in our locale compare to the fantastic illustrations and feature pages in this book.

It's extremely easy to see why children find history so fascinating, and of course the Vikings - whose adventures and rather bloodthirsty timelines are an amazing subject to study.

We'll be looking in detail at further publications from the British Museum Children's Books collection, and also building our own Viking longboat - so watch out for that in a future blogpost.

Charlotte's best bit: King Harald's amazing Viking armour and shields

Daddy's Favourite bit: A great book for older children who want to explore history and learn more about the fascinating Viking culture

(Kindly sent to us for review by British Museum Children's Books)