From School Library Journal
Grade 3-5-This account of Eriksson's life and explorations relies heavily on the use of imaginary incidents, thoughts, feelings, and dialogue. The author's technique of re-creation gives the book a flavor more like that of a historical novel than a biography or history and is reminiscent of the style of biography writing prevalent in the 1940s and 1950s. An author's note describes the very few historical facts available about the lives of Leif the Lucky and his father, Erik the Red. Most of the existing information comes from the Greenlanders' Saga, an account written 200 years after Leif's journey to North America, and from the Vinland Sagas, which describe Erik's discovery of Greenland, the Viking settlement he founded there, and Icelandic trader Bjarni Herjolfsson's accidental sighting of North America, which inspired Leif to search for this unknown land. Details not found in the sagas, such as descriptions of Leif's childhood home and way of life in Iceland and in his Vinland camp, are based on the research of historians and archaeologists who have studied the sagas and have explored the Viking ruins at L'Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland, ruins that may be the remains of Leif's North American settlement. With its many photographs of Viking artifacts and its imaginative presentation of Eriksson's life and explorations, Kimmel's book will captivate and entertain young readers even though many librarians may question its classification as nonfiction rather than fiction.Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Gr. 3-6. Without much to go on but archaeological digs and centuries of oral folklore, Kimmel admits to weaving into her factual history her own suppositions about what Leif felt or thought. In fact, this gives her narrative a human dimension that might make the material more approachable to young readers, and it makes the historical text move much like a novel. Both Leif and his explorer father, Erik the Red, are presented as bold, vivid characters who graduated from pillaging nearby villages and communities to exploring uncharted lands across the Atlantic, lands that became Markland, Helluland, and Vinland. The book gives a clear sense of the marauding behavior of the Vikings while still suggesting a sense of heroism in their willingness to explore new worlds guided only by the sun and stars. Part of the Landmark Books series, this small, readable volume includes several photos of archaeological artifacts, maps of the new world Eriksson found, and a suggested reading list. Roger LeslieCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved