A Viking lullaby
Soothe your little soldiers to sleep with the storybook Viking Lullaby
When you think of Vikings, you might conjure images of horned-helmet-wearing fighters with barbaric beards ransacking helpless villagers. This is a popular portrayal of Vikings, so it is to be expected. Michelle Forbes tells a different story about this time in history with her new children’s book, Viking Lullaby. It’s a story of sleepy gods, resting giants and peaceful Viking civilians. It’s not exactly the menacing tale of raiders most of us grew up hearing about.
“There are all sorts of lovely Viking books for kids about what life was like, what they believed in, what their religion was like, what the myths were, but they didn't have any fictional, historically accurate storybooks,” said Forbes. “Anything that was fictional had horned helmets and those are completely inaccurate and were put in place by the Wagner opera a long time ago to make them look more fierce. Most of the time, Vikings just lived as farmers or fishermen.”
Forbes’s fascination with Viking culture goes beyond books. She also organizes the Medieval Festival in Kimberley, B.C., along with her husband, Eric, who owns the award-winning Kimberley City Bakery with his wife.
“When we put on the Medieval Festival, it ended up being primarily Vikings in the beginning,” said Forbes. “The kids wanted to hear a story that was Viking like what we had seen in the festival.”
Forbes utilized her background as an elementary school music teacher to create not just a book but a song as well.
“I worked a lot with music, songs and books in rhyme,” she said. “I decided to put together a song for the Viking re-enactors. I suggested the idea of making it into a book and they thought it was a great idea.”
If you are musically inclined, take a look at the last page of Viking Lullaby to find the melody line written for piano with the guitar chords on top. You can also hear how it sounds by listening to Forbes sing the song to her son, Jack, in the video below.
“It is, of course, a bedtime story since it's a lullaby,” said Forbes. “We read it to the Viking kids at the festival and they all just curled up on the ground. They loved it. The parents loved it to. Feedback has been phenomenal. People love the illustrations, the story and how it integrates all of the mythology.”
Viking Lullaby’s illustrator is not only a Viking enthusiast, she’s a Viking re-enactor. Postey Amanda connected with Forbes during the Medieval Festival and the two gelled like Thor and his hammer.
In the storybook, blackened, starry backgrounds border vibrant characters with golden hair and peaceful expressions. The detailed pictures make it easy for children to focus their glossy eyes on the pages and even provide a few fun hidden trinkets for Viking enthusiasts. Vivid imagery complements flowing lyrical rhymes within easy-to-read sentences. Even squirmy children are likely to take pause and pay attention.
Then, when the story song is complete, you may even have to scoop up your little one so they have enough energy to get into their mischievous Loki-like antics the next day.
Forbes will be doing a public reading (and possibly singing) at the Kimberley Public Library on September 21st at 3:30 p.m.
You can find Viking Lullaby online at Chapters/Indigo, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. The book is also available at the Kimberley City Bakery and Centex in Kimberley as well as Lotus Books in Cranbrook.
Michelle Forbes, author of Viking Lullaby, sings for her son, Jack. Kyle Born video