The Last Viking Returns


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Picture A Story exhibition

The State Library of WA has a new exhibition beginning November 2nd called Picture A Story, comprising works from their Australian children’s book illustration collection.

You’ll see artwork by Shaun Tan, Ron Brooks, Graeme Base, Alison Lester, Frane Lessac, Leigh Hobbs, Matt Ottley, Sean E Avery and me!

There’ll be originals, sketches and sculptures I made for The Last Viking… including this little reference maquette for Josh.

Josh reference sculpture

And as you probably noticed at the top of the post, Wolverine is the official mascot of the exhibition!

More info at the State Library website.


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Vikings invade Darling Harbour

The Jorgen Jorgensen pulls in Darling Harbour

The Jorgen Jorgenson docks at Darling Harbour

Last week, the Australian National Maritime Museum was invaded by Vikings!

The staff were happily enjoying the launch of their new exhibition Vikings – Beyond the Legend when a horde of real Norsemen arrived at the docks at Darling Harbour, Sydney.

They came in peace though. Only one Anglo-Saxon warrior died.

Read more on the official ANMM blog.


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Make-your-own Viking god or goddess

One of the best parts of school visits is seeing the great ideas that schoolkids come up with. Here’s a bunch of viking god and goddesses, designed by students during children’s book week this year. God of Wind, by Tom Isabella the Goddess of Patterns, by Maddy Bothgolong, God of Fire, by Rohan A portrait of Thor that also folds up into a paper plane, by Christian This guy looks familiar… The God of Literature, by Catherine And finally, Optimus Prime, by Brayden. It’s not a viking god but it looks really cool.


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Prepare your classroom for a Viking invasion

Viking boat display at heARTlines Festival 2011

Display by Gidgegannup Primary School students at heARTlines Festival 2011. Teacher: Trevor Dent.

It’s August, which means Children’s Book Week is fast approaching. If you’re a teacher, maybe you’d like to use The Last Viking for one of your classroom displays. Here’s some examples that Norm and I have seen since the book came out.

In the example above, teacher Trevor Dent guided his students from Gidgegannup Primary in making a Viking ship display for the heARTlines Children’s Literature Festival 2011. The centrepiece is a ship painted on to card with a cloth sail. Students have illustrated characters from the book and their own original Viking warriors.

The picture below is a display from Year 1/2 H at Penrith, NSW. They coloured viking ships, swords and shields, and translated their names into runes along the bottom of the display.

Viking artwork display by year 1 and 2 students at Penrith NSW

Below are two photos from a year 3 classroom at Rosalie Primary School. I visited them for their biennial writers’ festival and contributed some drawings. The foam lettering and cardboard viking ship were used in their assembly item (seen playing on the smartboard), in which they acted out the entire book! They performed an inspired closing number- ‘One-Eyed, One-Horned Flying Purple People Eater’. Odin and Thor would be proud of their stellar efforts.

Rosalie Primary School display

Rosalie classroom display 2

Rosalie Primary School display- detail of their cardboard Viking ship

And finally, here are some illustrations by the same talented Rosalie Primary School year 3s. These are pasted to the front and inside of a thank you card the students presented to me. Norm got one too. We were gobsmacked at the creativity in this classroom (which probably has a lot to do with their fantastic teacher, Mrs Goods).

Rosalie Primary students artwork 1

Rosalie artwork 2

One other activity I like to do with students is Viking character design. I talk a little about the Viking gods and what each god or goddess was in charge of. Then I ask the students to imagine that if they were a Viking god or goddess, what would they be in charge of? Then I ask them to draw that character.

There’s more Viking-themed classroom resources on our Resources page. There’s blackline masters for colouring in, a ‘How To Read Runes’ worksheet, and links to activities on the web.

The Teachers page gives you some ideas about how to link The Last Viking in with curriculum, and provides a handy overview of this blog and sorts some useful posts into ready-made lists for you.
Norm and I love seeing the work that students make in response to The Last Viking. If you have any pictures of your own Viking displays or artwork and would like to share them with us via your blog, we’d love to see them- send us a link!


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Last Viking outpost in Fremantle

The Last Viking has set up camp at the Fremantle Children’s Literature Centre for Term 4 2011 and Term 1 2012.

If you’re a teacher, bring your class to see copies of preparatory sketches, character designs, clay models, final pencil work and colour prints. Call the Centre on 9430 6869 to see if you can book a time.

If you’re a member of the public and would like to see the artwork, then the Term 1 2012 Open Day is your best bet. A date has not yet been confirmed, but when we know, we’ll post it on the blog.

The Lit Centre ladies have done an amazing job putting the exhibition together- Norm and I were ecstatic to see it, me especially. It was surreal to see my work on the walls of the Centre, where previously I’ve been able to see the work of my picture book heroes.

The Lit Centre is selling copies of The Last Viking and many other amazing books in their well-stocked bookshop. They’re also selling limited edition signed prints of Last Viking artwork, and prints from other great Aussie artists (including my favourite, Shaun Tan).

James and Norm at FCLC open day term 4 2011

James and Norm at FCLC Open Day, Term 4 2011

FCLC open day term 4 2011

FCLC open day term 4 2011

FCLC open day term 4 2011 pic5

FCLC open day term 4 2011 pic4


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Viking School for Young Ladies and Gentlemen

Viking School.

Deep in the fiords of Rivervale in suburban Perth exists the little known and highly secretive Tranby Viking School. From when they are first born, young boys and girls are specially chosen from across the nine worlds by the Norse Gods to attend Viking School. Here, surrounded by unsuspecting normal families in unsuspecting normal homes, under the keen watchful eyes of their Viking guardians, the Viking-ettes learn the ancient and mystical arts of being a true-blooded Viking.  Sword fighting , axe throwing, Longship building, yelling loudly and generally  being ferocious, along with Runes reading and how to discover America are all part of Viking School curriculum.

From Monday to Thorsday the young Vikings  dress in uniforms the colour of blood, they don horned helmets and fierce expressions and generally scare the living daylights out of anyone who is unfortunate to see them.

Freyasday, however, is special at Viking School and on that day the little Vikings are allowed to go wild and eat as much chocolate as they want, drink gallons of red cordial, and behave like sugar-crazed berserkers.  In this photo taken by Heather Zubek, you can see the little berserkers on their way from the red cordial tanker that has just called at Viking School. Ahhhhh!

Here’s some more photos and stories from our visit to Tranby Viking School:

The West online – Vikings triumph in battle of bullies

WA Department of Education Ed-e-News – Vikings takeover Tranby Primary School