“Encouraging Young Readers”
The very first inklings of my new tale, Three Little Vikings came about back in early 2020 after I’d been spending a lot of time reading old Nordic tales over Christmas. I wanted to create another original tale centred around an era in history, just the same as my previous tale, Bo the Brave, which is set in a medieval kingdom. Deciding upon the Viking age, I began researching the era and diving deeper into the history, traditions, beliefs and folklore. During my research, I discovered that many Vikings believed in, and feared, all kinds of mythical creatures, which naturally I was fascinated by!
Steadily, my story developed, as did my characters. I began to draw this horrid forest-dwelling creature, who crashed and bashed his way through the Viking village. But who was going to stop this awful beast? I needed some mighty shield maidens.
Naturally, akin to all my protagonists, they were going to be feisty, brave and full of wit – exactly what the Viking village needed with a destructive creature on the loose! Soon enough, I had created Helga, Ebba and Wren, my heroic Viking trio.
But my three Little Vikings are faced with a bit of a problem. They discover that something or someone is causing chaos in the village, and despite raising the alarm and telling the Chieftain, they simply cannot get their voices heard. Having your voice disregarded or overlooked is a familiar feeling amongst women and young girls, and this book gave me the perfect opportunity to explore this further, weaving in an important message throughout the book. My aim when creating this book, was to encourage young readers to challenge authority, question the world around them, and to stand up and do something – even if your voice isn’t being heard.
But Three Little Vikings isn’t all about rebellious children and challenging authority (though, I’m sure I’ll write that book one day). It’s a celebration of the friendship that Helga, Ebba and Wren share. The mighty little shield-maidens embrace each other’s strengths and differences, all while working together to rid their village of the horrid creature from the forest. If that’s not sisterhood, I’m not sure what is!
Bringing Three Little Vikings into the classroom:
- Make your own Viking helmet – If you’re looking for a Viking-themed crafting activity, try creating a Viking helmet. This craft can be easily created using cardboard, scissors, tape and pencil, and involves making a simple band from cardboard to go around your head. You can get really creative with the design of your Viking helmet, and it can be adorned with all manner of things, including horns, buttons, feathers, jewels, or twigs!
- Make your own Viking shield – In Three Little Vikings, Helga carries a shield for protection. You could try crafting your very own Viking shield to protect you from that horrid troll! For this activity, you’ll need some cardboard, scissors, glue, markers, tape and any items you’d like to decorate your shield with. The shield is straightforward to make, created by cutting out several circles from card for the shield and a strip on the back for the handle. Have a go at decorating your shield with markers, tape and perhaps some jewels or buttons!
- Creating a wild garden troll – In Viking lore, trolls are known as mythical creatures that live in the wilderness in isolated caves, and can easily blend in with their natural surroundings. Make your own forest troll using materials that you find outside or in a garden. Using the troll in Three Little Vikings as inspiration, look for items that you would be able to use for different parts of the troll. Use glue to stick it all together, and just like that – you’ll have your very own garden troll!
- Baking Viking bread – For an authentic Viking experience, why not try baking some Viking bread? Hearty bread made from wheat and oats was a staple for most Viking diets, served with tasty soups or drizzled with honey. Yum! You’ll be pleased to know there’s plenty of free and easy recipes for Viking bread online for little hands to get busy with. But be careful of any looming trolls (they’re always hungry!)
- Viking Treasure Hunt – The horrid troll has been defeated and the Three Little Vikings, Helga, Ebba and Wren, are basking in their victory. But wait! All that precious Viking treasure has been strewn across the village…Find all the Viking treasure, count all of the jewels, gold and silver and make sure there isn’t any missing! This is a really simple activity, which involves a little imagination and some Viking treasure. (If you don’t have any coins or jewels, you could always have a go at making some from cardboard!) Begin by hiding your jewels and coins and encourage your Viking scavengers to find the missing treasure. Once they’ve picked up all of the treasure, make sure they count it all to check all the missing treasure has been found!
You can find a downloadable activity pack for Three Little Vikings and activities for Bethan’s other books by following this link: https://www.peachtreebooks.com/resources/
Published August 30th, 2022 by Peachtree
About the Book: Three little Vikings fight off a fearsome troll in this funny, feminist adventure story for little rebels from award-winning and critically acclaimed creator Bethan Woollvin.
Once upon a time in a Viking village, everything seems to be going wrong. Chickens are disappearing, trees are falling down, and there’s lots and lots of crashing and bashing. The silly Chieftain won’t listen to the three littlest Vikings, but can they work together to figure out what’s going on and save the day?
Three Little Vikings is all about cooperation, bravery, and getting your voice heard, from the creator of the New York Times Best Illustrated Book Little Red, Bethan Woollvin.
About the Author: Bethan Woollvin is a recent graduate of the Cambridge School of Art, where she won the prestigious Macmillan Children’s Book Competition with her version of Little Red Riding Hood. It was her first picture book. She lives in England.
Thank you, Bethan, for sharing these fun activities that add enrichment to your book!