Book Title: Beorn the Proud
Author: Madeleine Polland
When I was about thirteen years old, I studied the Vikings. We home-schooled throughout my childhood and one of the highlights of the year was the annual “Science and Project Fair” that the home-school organization put on. The year I was thirteen, we created a big project display about the Vikings complete with costumes, runes, and a model Viking ship.
To get in the spirit of things, my mother decided that she and I would read Beorn the Proud by Madeleine Polland. We would alternate reading chapters while snuggling on her big, warm, fluffy bed. This book, nourished by the memories of the way it was presented to me, stands out in my mind as one of my favorite pieces of Children’s Literature.
Beorn the Proud is the story about a young Irish girl,
There are many elements that drew me into the story and kept me rooting for
“Speech reveals character.” When dialogue is used properly the characters in the story show their true colors. Accents, speech patterns, even the tone in which they speak reveals if the character is agreeable or difficult, serious or fun-loving, and even whether they are rich or poor. The dialogue in Beorn the Proud provides the reader with accurate description of the character’s attitudes, thoughts, and beliefs. Beorn’s character is especially vocally expressive. Through the many times Beorn uses “by the great Hammer of Thor,” we can be sure of his belief in the Norse religion. Beorn’s attitudes as well as the words he speaks are almost always done so out of pride. He even admits to pride, and shows his difference in thought process when he bids
Rich dialogue isn’t the only noteworthy thing in Beorn the Proud; it is filled with unexpected insights. These small, eye-opening surprises fill a book with secrets and make the reader long to read more, making the reader search for clues about the secret lives of the characters. In Beorn the Proud readers are not disappointed when they look for unexpected insights. Throughout the developing relationship between
Perhaps one of the most touching insights happens early in the book, when the Vikings are splitting their spoils from
When she wakes, Beorn tells her how the ships are getting ready to sail and that she is to come along with them. When she refuses, he tells her “You will come. And you may keep this.” And he gives
This small act of kindness gives the readers a small hint at a secret Beorn hidden beneath the proud boy; the Beorn who would be a kind ruler, understanding his people’s needs.
Another unexpected insight between Beorn and
Although the dialogue that Beorn speaks reveals himself to be proud and boastful, the insights that the author, Madeleine Polland, unexpectedly throws into the story hints at a character who will one day be a great, kind king of the Vikings; perhaps with a wise and gentle Irish queen beside him.
Beorn the Proud had a great impact on me because of the rich, descriptive dialogue and the unexpected insights that kept me guessing until the end. The end was no failure, either, and by the time I got to it I was grinning broadly and squealing for joy at the characters grand finale!
I would highly recommend this book to anyone between the ages of ten and one hundred and I guarantee that, once they appear, I will be reading this book with my children, just as my mother read Beorn the Proud with me.