The Birkebeiners were peasants and fierce warriors in the Middle Ages whose King sat on the throne of Norway. Their rivals, the Baglers, were rich noblemen who wanted to claim the throne for themselves. In 1206, the King had died and left behind an infant son, Prince Hakon. His Queen, Inge, hid her baby for over a year to keep him safe, but as the Baglers became stronger, and threatened the life of the prince, she realized it was time to travel north to Nidaros where the Birkebeiners would protect them, and the prince could take his rightful place on the throne. She asked the priest, Sira Trond, for help, and he gathered the best and bravest men of his small village. To outwit the Baglers, this small band of Birkebeiners decided to ski over the mountains at the darkest, coldest, most dangerous time of the year, braving fierce storms to bring their Queen and baby Prince to safety..... Take a slice of engaging medieval history, add beautiful and evocative artwork, and you have The Race Of The Birkebeiners. Based on Sturla Tordsson's account of the escape and rescue of Norway's future King Hakon, written in 1264, Lise Lunge-Larsen has authored a compelling picture book that's sure to mesmerize youngsters with its powerful story. Her dramatic text is full of atmosphere and suspense, and begs to be read aloud. Mary Azarian's rich, bold and colorful woodcut illustrations transport the reader back to Medieval times, and on this long ago journey over mountains, through snowstorms, and darkness to safety. With an afterword detailing King Hakon's reign, Norway's Golden Years, and how the Birkebeiners are still honored today for their bravery and heroism, this is an exceptional and captivating story children 5-9 shouldn't miss.