thorfinngruesomegames
Thorfinn and the Gruesome Games
by David MacPhail (Author) and Richard Morgan (Illustrator)

Booktalk: The BIG Picture

Prepare yourself for the wrath of the Norsemen! That is, if you don’t mind and it’s not too inconvenient… Everyone knows Vikings are ruthless barbarians whose idea of a good time involves pillaging, plundering, and feasting. But Thorfinn is no ordinary Viking! He is always polite and happily offers to wash the dirty dishes. Too bad his dad is Harald the Skull-Splitter, the village chief and the roughest and toughest Viking of them all. Harald, Thorfinn and the other Vikings are preparing to compete in the annual Gruesome Games, held on the Scottish island of Uraig. It falls to Thorfinn to save their village, but in a competition, where belching, axe-throwing, pie-clobbering, and goat-throwing are great point scorers, what help will a terribly nice Viking with a talent for baking be?

#kidlit Writing Lesson: the small details

Readers meet Thorfinn in chapter 1:

One of the women spotted the chief’s son — a boy called Thorfinn — stepping out from behind a large sheet covering the great hall.

“What are you up to, Thorfinn?” she asked.

“Good day, dear ladies,” said Thorfinn, removing his helmet. “You’ll be the first to see my new surprise. Ta da!” He pulled the sheet away.

The women’s screams could be heard on the other side of the village.

Thorfinn’s introduction begins in an unusual way:

One of the women spotted the chief’s son — a boy called Thorfinn — stepping out from behind a large sheet covering the great hall.

That leads to a question:

“What are you up to, Thorfinn?” she asked.

And an unusual answer:

“Good day, dear ladies,” said Thorfinn, removing his helmet. “You’ll be the first to see my new surprise. Ta da!” He pulled the sheet away.

Her reaction is also unusual:

The women’s screams could be heard on the other side of the village.

Introducing the main character in an unusual way catches the reader’s attention. (To find out what was under the sheet, you have to keep reading!)

Copyright © 2016 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.