That king was King Harald and this is his rather excellent story courtesy of Thomas J.T. Williams and the British Museum. A tale to bring history to life- particularly for those 'Invaders and Settlers' moments in school. This is a really fine read. I wondered whether it would be a bit dry when I first got the copy. Today's children are pretty particular about their visual images or so we assume-they have to be all singing and all dancing to stimulate their interest. I'm not so sure about that though. This the story of how King Harald comes to be... His beginnings as a boy; making his way through what is now Scandinavia+his travels into the colourful Constantinople. The story is a good story-it's not 'forced' to make the history fit in. It is how history was told, in many ways, through story and epic adventures-those tales were handed down to the next generation. In this story we see the boy become the fierce, brave and often cruel King who became known as 'Harald Hard-ruler'. But learning about that time is part of the story-we need to know about how things worked then in order to get more involved in the story. So there are not only beautiful, classic illustrations to the adventure but also black and white hand drawings illustrating the intricate patterns on swords, jewellery drawing in Viking gods, for example. I'm always keen to bring history in to anything at all as I've always loved it, I hope that comes across when I've taught those great themes but I'm also keen not to 'dumb it down' in anyway because we may underestimate our children. I think they like to find out about the past and if it's a good story with feisty facts and artefacts they DO like it. This book tells of a human being's experience and therefore takes them back in to time through a good tale. If you were lucky enough to encompass its reading with a visit to the British Museum's Viking exhibition even better.
Avid reader, sometimes a headteacher AND founder of Story shack. A place where you can release your imagination and see where it takes you....
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