Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Viking Tales, by Jennie Hall

A few weeks ago I listed several books about Vikings which we had been reading. I also asked for suggestions for further titles and the Queen of Carrots recommend Viking Tales. I immediately ordered it off of Amazon and the kids and I read it together. (I purchased "used" and thankfully my copy looks like the one I've pictured on this post and not like the one you'll see on the Amazon page.) This book was first published by Rand, McNally & Co. in 1902, then republished in 2005. We are so glad that it was made available again to modern readers like ourselves!

Viking Tales is divided into two sections: part one taking place in Norway, and part two taking place in the lands "west-over-seas." Hall included a great introduction to her book explaining what the Sagas are so that the readers are made to understand that the events told in this book are ones which appear in the actual Viking Sagas which have been passed down through the ages. My kids were slightly versed in Viking history thanks to the books we had already read; having some background helped to really make Viking Tales come alive, if you will.

Viking Tales is comprised of mostly short chapters covering the time period between King Halfdan's reign in Norway through Leif Erikson's discovery of North America. (Side note: I had no idea that there is an official Leif Erikson Day in the United States.) Hall tells the stories of generations of Vikings in a manner which is both thrilling for young listeners, educational in spite of itself, and exciting for all involved in the reading. I really felt like this book helped us to solidify the timeline of Viking history in our minds, as well as making it personable and approachable. We highly recommend this title now to anyone who is learning about these people.

Of interest to me was information about the author herself. I had heard the name Jennie Hall before but didn't really know who she was. In case anyone else is curious, according to Goodreads she was a historical writer of the late 18th century. She is noted for having written "spellbinding travel memoirs" but I can't tell if anyone knows the titles of such books or if they are considering things like Viking Tales to fall into that category. Hall was born in 1875 and died in 1921 and beyond those dates and a smattering of book titles, that is all anyone seems to know about her. (Not even a Wikipedia page! Gasp! One wonders...) You'll not find a complete listing of her books on Amazon either, but you will find Buried Cities: Pompeii, Olympia, Mycenae for $0.99 on the Kindle (which I am enormously curious about). I would love to know more about her but it seems as if I shall have to remain curious. In the meantime, at least I can say that I've read one of her books and found it delightful.

Many thanks to the Queen who recommend the above title to me and for introducing me to Jennie Hall. I am much obliged.


Bluerose said...

This is one of the history books for Year 1 at Ambleside Online(which is what we're using this upcoming year). I just added it to my kindle a couple of weeks ago for Grasshopper(and for me to pre-read), so I'm thrilled y'all enjoyed it so much. I'm more excited about it now! :)

Queen of Carrots said...

Yay! So glad you enjoyed it! The twins and I are still reading it (we are also doing Y1 at Ambleside Online) and it has been one of their favorites.

Queen of Carrots said...

Oh, and I just followed the link and saw the cover of the new paperback. My eyes!

Sky said...

Do any of you have the isbn number for an older book? Like the one pictured, not the ones on Amazon, blah!
Thank you!

Carrie said...


ISBN 1-59915-004-2

Librarian said...

Hello Carrie,
I have read "Buried Cities" by Jennie Hall and did some research about the author while putting together my review for my blog. Like you, I would have liked to find out more about Jennie Hall. But I did come across your blog, which is certainly A Good Thing!
In my review, which you can find here if you are interested, I have linked to your blog. Please let me know if you would prefer not to be linked to; I shall then remove the link immediately.

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