cover image Helga Makes a Name for Herself

Helga Makes a Name for Herself

Megan Maynor, illus. by Eda Kaban. Clarion, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-328-95783-2

In Maynor’s (The Sandcastle That Lola Built) irreverent Viking saga spoof, redheaded Helga yearns to be a Viking warrior like the legendary Ingrid the Axe, begging for stories of her role model during her “monthly bath.” Helga’s parents suggest that a “farmersdotter” from a small mountain village is unlikely to join the Viking glitterati. But Helga defies them, training and outfitting herself in a ragtag warrior outfit, and with her trusty wolverine in tow (“What’s wrong with her cat?” asks a bystander), heads off to compete for an opening in Ingrid’s army. Kaban’s (Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten!) bright, digitally cartooned vignettes have the verve of classic animation, and she marches right along with Maynor’s comic beats as Helga fails twice before triumphing in sword sparring with a shout of “AROOOO!”—winning a nod from Ingrid and a mythical nickname of her very own. While even the littlest readers will guess the outcome early on, that doesn’t detract from the fun. This one’s all about Helga’s determination and self-knowledge; told by her mother to “remember who you are,” Helga shouts, battle-ready in a field of fluffy sheep, “I AM A WARRIORRR!” Ages 4–7. [em]Author’s agent: Minju Chang, BookStop Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Justin Rucker, Shannon Assoc. (Nov.) [/em]