The Last Viking
I have a new favourite picture book!
ABC Canberra Drive
This is a beautifully illustrated book, with easy transitions from the present to Viking days of glory. The inclusion of a page from Pop’s Viking book is fascinating and adds to the many layers of this wonderfully inventive book of heroes and legends.
The Last Viking is a charming book that will appeal to anyone who has an interest in Vikings, or perhaps has a fearful child.
Good Reading Magazine
This is such a fun book, with the illustrations and text working together perfectly to create an exciting, magical story. ****
Foley’s illustrations reflect the humour and warmth of Jorgensen’s text … The Last Viking will provide many happy hours of reading and gazing for little ones and grown-ups alike.
Norman Jorgensen’s writing and James Foley’s illustrations complement each other perfectly in this charming story about courage and imagination. As in all the best picture books, the words allow room for the cartoonish, expressive art to expand and deepen the story.
Author Norman Jorgensen has produced an engrossing book with wide ranging appeal. The potential audience for this work is wider than the youth market. This is a delightfully old fashioned book that is successful on many levels; entertainment, cultural artifact… and the importance of relationships. Recommend this one to any independent reader wanting something that will stay with them after the covers have closed.
Not many books have me laughing throughout, but the adventures and mishaps of the two main characters in Jack’s Island are hilarious. I am not exaggerating when I say Norman Jorgensen’s latest offering to the literary world is one of the best books I have read this year. Jack’s island is a poignant look at the hardships of war, strong family morals including the occasional hiding dished out to youngsters and the importance of helping neighbors. Jorgensen’s characters are lovable and when I shared their adventures there was no doubt life was tough during the war but I felt admiration for their nobility. Even tough this is a youth novel for middle readers , it is a great read for adults as well.
In Flanders Fields
The Children’s Book Council of Australia
The story is told with slow solemnity and sensitivity that is never allowed to sink into sentimentality. In World War I on Christmas Eve, a young Australian soldier walks out into no-man’s-land to free a small robin caught in the barbed wire. The robin symbolises the survival of compassion and hope. The text is sparse and compelling, using the present tense. Subtle use of black and sepia pen and wash capture the bleakness of battlefield, sandbags and barbed wire, contrasting starkly with the sacrificial red of the robin’s breast and the Flanders poppies. The endpapers, tableaux of soldiers in opposing trenches, have a pathos which encapsulates the wasted humanity of war.
Forest Street Primary School
The book In Flanders Fields is a heart rending story of a young, lonesome soldier, who on Christmas morning, when the guns have stopped firing, spots a bird trapped in some barbed wire. He looks at it for awhile and then slowly returns back to his camp, where he finds a Christmas present awaiting him. Soon after he has found his present, he walks back to his place on the firing line. He looks and sees the robin still trapped. he thinks he will be able to save the robin and he goes out to achieve this. He walks straight into the enemies area and the enemy gets ready to shoot but stops when they find out what is happening. He frees the bird and slowly walks back to camp. In the distance he can hear the enemy camp singing the Christmas carol 'Silent Night'. This is a beautifully illustrated book and I think the illustrator has done a fabulous job. Most of the pictures are in grey muted colour with a bit of white and brown mixed in, but when the Robin enters the story the colour changes, but only for the robin. The pictures explain what happens in the story very well and I think that they emphasise the story. The illustrator has cleverly added feeling to the story. I think this book has a lot of sensitivity about it and it helps explain a bit about what life was like in the war. I thin that anyone who steps into any enemy area would have to be pretty brave and this is what is noted in the story. In the end this story also shows that war is futile, as the soldiers in this book realised.
Moreton Downs State School
‘In Flanders Fields’ is the amazing story of a young soldier at war. Peering through a periscope, he sees a small robin caught helplessly in the wire. Cautiously he steps out of the trench, on to ‘No Man’s Land’, and heads towards the trapped bird…… The author and illustrator of ‘In Flanders Fields’, dedicate the book to many friends and relatives they have had, who fought in the war, which is very unique. The pictures are very unusual. Brian Harrison-Lever has used very little colour and the illustrations are very detailed. This, together with the content of the book, makes it more suitable for older students. Teachers would find this a useful book to share with their students on ANZAC Day or Remembrance Day. I enjoyed ‘In Flanders Fields’ because the story was more meaningful than many other picture books. It shows that when you care for someone, nothing can stop you. The dark, sombre colours make it easy to imagine that you are there in the real battlefield, with real soldiers, experiencing the real horror and meaningless of war. It captivates you so closing your eyes, you can see the beautiful red of the robin. It makes you want to read on and see what happens next, even though it not a very long story. The story is special because it is based on a real event; the soldiers on the Western Front during World War I.. The significance of the little red bird, makes the story very touching. It makes you wonder about whether there is any point to war, at all. subject, but the story is really touching. The title ‘In Flanders Fields’ was taken from the poem by John MaCrae. Norman Jorgenson, born in Broome, Australia, and Brian Harrison Lever, England, working together make one fantastic book.
A Fine Mess
Michael Hardy is a normal boy, really. Just wants to have fun, snag the girl of his dreams and stay out of trouble. But his chances of staying out of trouble seem pretty remote when he gets together with his mate, Woody Decker. In just a few short weeks the school library catches fire, the principal is knocked unconscious, the school play turns from tragedy into a tragic comedy and a replica catapult puts a brick through a church window and wrecks a wedding. A Fine Mess is a story which truly lives up to its title - it is superbly chaotic. There is plenty of action and loads of laugh out loud moments. Norman Jorgensen is best known for his two recent picture books -In Flanders Fields which won the CBCA Picture Book of the Year Award in 2003 and The Call of the Osprey (2004). A Fine Mess is vastly different from these two, but what shows through in all three is Jorgensen's passion for the written word. A Fine Mess is a great read, recommended for kids aged 11 and up.
Another Fine Mess 002
Another Fine Mess 002 is a follow up to A Fine Mess, and the hilarity continues. Michal and woody get into more trouble than most teenage boys could manage in their entire puberty years. As they lurch form one hysterical crisis to another, be warned you may need a break from reading to rest your aching ribs from laughing so hard. Whilst this may seem like a book more directed towards boys all children form middle primary to lower high school would enjoy this story but w be warned laughter is contagious so be sure not to read it in school unless you want to end up in trouble like Michael Hardy.
The West Australian
Michael Hardy and Woody Decker are at it again. How can two kids get into so much trouble? Smelly, gross trouble. In this follow up to A Fine Mess, we find Michael and Woody having to get out of the way of exploding fire trucks, exploding cows and very unusual willy-willy’s. And what does author Norman Jorgensen have against garden gnomes? This time we find the gnomes humiliated by ….well just read it to find out.
Michael Hardy has a knack of landing himself in trouble. From watching the town fire truck sink in the sewage pond, to kidnapping garden gnomes and suffering the indignity of a wardrobe malfunction in front of the whole school, Michael and his friend Woody go from one misadventure to another. But suddenly Michael finds himself labeled a hero. How will he cope with his newfound status? In the meantime, Michael has made a start on his future career – as a novelist. Chapters of his high-action spy novel are sprinkled throughout this tale, adding to the humour of the whole. Michael’s alter-ego, Dirk Fleming, Junior M16 Agent, lands himself in far bigger scrapes than Michael does – including being captured by the Russians after an air-fight – but he always saves the day. Another Fine Mess 002 is a sequel to A Fine Mess, but can be read independently. Both are ideal for readers aged 10 to 14, and will appeal equally to boys and girls. Great stuff.
The Call of the Osprey
The Call of the Osprey is a poignant and beautiful story about dedication, loyalty and friendship. Author Norman Jorgensen is a master storyteller - spinning a tale which touches and educates as it entertains. His pairing with illustrator Brian Harrison-Lever is ideal. Harrison- Lever's depictions of the characters, the boat and the sea, echo the mood of the story perfectly. From the seascapes on the endpapers to the character studies of his close ups, the tone and detail of his art complements the story.