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Bjorn Fyrre
Klippe the Viking
Bjorn Fyrre, author

A poignant children’s picture book shares an important social emotional learning message.

A young viking struggling to find herself has a journey of self-discovery and self-worth.

Young Klippe is a viking who does not feel like she belongs with the other vikings. She finds schoolwork difficult, doesn’t enjoy the same games, and just feels…different. When another viking girl, Kanin, sees Klippe struggling with her school scrolls, she reassures Klippe that she, too, finds the work difficult, but that they can work on it together. Klippe realizes that she doesn’t always have to have all the answers. If she doesn’t know something, it’s okay to ask for help or to figure it out herself.

Later, Klippe meets up with other vikings who are chatting and laughing together. Klippe doesn’t know how to be a part of their conversations or understand their jokes. While she sits in silence, one of them says, “Thank you for being my friend, Klippe. You are always thinking of others and caring.” Klippe realizes that she doesn’t have to be the loudest or the funniest; she is accepted and loved for who she is. She sees that she has things to offer the world just being herself.

Other poignant vignettes in the book confront fears of failing or of trying something new, conveying the importance of trying new things and doing things you love, no matter the outcome. Question prompts and recommendations at the back of the book help parents and educators of young children invite a dialogue about these social emotional learning milestones and how to support young learners with the tools and reassurance to thrive through self-discovery and with healthy emotional intelligence. The story affirms for children that, while we all have struggles, it’s how we confront and overcome them that shows our strength of spirit, there is no right or wrong way.

Klippe the Viking is part of a series of SEL picture books, based on a group of children all living in the same village who are faced with situations that they learn from.

Klippe, a young viking, doesn’t feel that she belongs—she can’t keep up at school, she doesn’t understand the other kids’ jokes, and she can’t play the games. But in this simple yet powerful story, Klippe soon makes friends and enjoys important realizations about herself and her peers along her journey to self confidence. Readers will find a friend in Klippe in Fyrre’s (Jern the Viking) empathetic story of a shy girl who grows to realize her own strengths beyond her preconceived limitations. Full of heart and understanding, Klippe the Viking is a straightforward reminder that everyone has strengths, and the best of friends are the ones who highlight those qualities for you to discover.

Self-growth and recognizing one’s strengths is not a simple topic to tackle in a narrative for young people, but Fyrre’s story does so capably, though the dialogue veers between the casual (“Wow, that was amazing”) and the curiously formal (“I do not understand it either”), often with uncertain punctuation, especially periods in place of commas, that gives the characters’ short utterances a sense of stiff finality. Adults reading out loud can work around this, but young readers feeling out the rules of English dialogue may be confused.

Nevertheless, watching a character face disappointment and perceived ostracization and then put the emotional puzzle pieces together to figure out more about themselves is a beneficial tool for children. Kini’s charming digital illustrations show the playful, frustrated, and joyful side of Klippe and her diverse array of Viking friends, imbuing the story with emotional clarity and urgency—all while conjuring a northland forest of vibrant greens, lush red flowers, and irresistible waterfalls. Best suited as one tool within a larger social emotional toolbox, Klippe the Viking brings big ideas to the forefront, leaving room for discussion with an adult.

Takeaway: Shy or quieter kids will find encouragement in this young Viking’s journey to self-confidence.

Great for fans of: Kelly Cunnane’s Chirchir Is Singing, Dashka Slater’s The Antlered Ship.

Production grades
Cover: A-
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: A
Editing: B-
Marketing copy: A

Midwest Review

Young Klippe is identified as a Viking, but she certainly doesn't feel like one. She struggles with her school scrolls, doesn't understand the jokes her peers share, and feels like a loner and a failure.

When classmate Kanin reaches out to her and learns of her frustrations, her friendship makes a difference as Klippe finds acceptance in shared experiences—including ignorance and the process of uncovering facts.

Ankitha Kini provides colorful, moving embellishments to Klippe's world, bringing Bjorn Fyrre's picture book story to life as Klippe discovers that being a Viking involves more than intrinsic knowledge.

The female-centric world of the Vikings that is presented here is a satisfying change to the typically-male presentation, even presenting clan chieftain Wild Oak as a powerful, effective female leader.

Dialogues that emphasize social integration, shared learning, and experiences that connect friends are encouraged both through the story and by questions in the back which direct read-aloud adults to begin the kinds of dialogues that further enlighten the young.

Together, these vignettes form not only the basis of Kippe's world, but her education on perseverance, problem-solving, community involvement, and friendships. Klippe does not need to have all the answers in order to be strong. She just needs to learn how to ask questions and connect the dots.

Adults who choose Klippe the Viking for its Viking adventure will welcome its action, its strong female characters, and its focus on the evolution of strength and leadership as young people make their ways through life.

Reedsy Discovery

Must Read

They are important messages and ones we should be teaching our children.

School is difficult for many reasons. Many children face hardships from classmates. Some children struggle academically. Many have issues with both areas. 

In Klippe the Viking by Bjorn Fyrre, Klippe feels down because they "do not understand anything from class." They feel like they don't belong. Many children might read this and feel the same way. This page might open doors for kids to confess their struggles and get help. 

If a teacher reads Klippe the Viking to their class, students might realize they are not alone with their struggles or feelings of not belonging. 

Klippe was surprised to discover that Kanin also didn't know the meaning of "chieftain." Through teamwork, they figured out its meaning. 

Bjorn Fyrre gave children good advice, delivered to readers by Klippe: It's okay not to have all the answers. You can always look up the answer yourself or ask others for help. 

As a parent with two children with Asperger's syndrome (part of the Autism spectrum), I know how difficult social situations and cues are for them. I have one child that doesn't know "when to laugh" but laughs when others start. They sit in silence and observe, like Klippe. My other child feels everything times 1000 and expresses themselves accordingly. 

I like the section with Klippe playing with a wooden sword. My youngest is excited about online roleplaying and larping (live-action roleplaying), so that section reminded me of my child's costumes. 

At the story's finale, Klippe revisits all the lessons she learned that day. They are important messages and ones we should be teaching our children. 

Bjorn Fyrre also included a section for adults. I would highly recommend every parent or educator read them.  

Finally, I commend Ankitha Kini (the artist) for their lovely illustrations. They almost had a sticker-like quality to them.