The Last Viking & The Last Viking Returns – teacher resources

High-resolution covers

click the thumbnails to download a high-resolution version.


Teacher’s Notes


The Last Viking (2011) and The Last Viking Returns (2014) are about the adventures of a boy called Josh.

In The Last Viking, Josh is introduced to the world of vikings. He wants to be as brave as they were. But when Josh comes face-to-face with real-life trouble, he begins to find out how brave he really is. Lucky for him, the Norse gods (Odin, Thor and the rest) have been watching, and are willing to protect their newest follower.

The Last Viking Returns starts after the birth of Josh’s little brother and sister. Josh is still as brave as a Viking warrior, and not much can scare a Viking. But the two littlest Vikings are going berserk. They think they’re invincible, and that spells trouble! When Pop takes the family to Viking World, Josh finds out just how far he’ll go to keep them safe.


The Last Viking is most obviously a story about bullying. Josh is picked on for his unusual Viking dress sense, and needs to learn assertiveness in order to stand up to the bullies. Most kids will relate to this situation.

The need for courage in the face of adversity.
In the words of Nelson Mandela- “The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear”.

The power of imagination to pull us out of the everyday and change our lives for the better.
In the words of Orison Swett Marden (1850 – 1924), an American writer and philosopher: “All men [and women] who have achieved great things have been great dreamers.”

The Last Viking Returns is about brothers and sisters, and learning to get along. It’s also about the responsibility that comes with being an eldest sibling, and how sometimes you want to throttle as well as protect your younger siblings all at once.

The Hero’s Journey
Our young hero, Josh, must go on a journey to discover and recover his courage and sense of power.
Josh’s story follows the ‘Hero’s Journey‘, an archetypal story pattern found in many ancient myths and legends (as well as contemporary stories such as The Matrix, Star Wars and Spiderman).

Curriculum Areas

The Last Viking and The Last Viking Returns relate to several areas of the curriculum.

History/Geography :
Viking life, trade routes, exploration, Viking influence on Western culture

Society and Environment/Maths:
map making

stories from Norse mythology, picture book writing

self-esteem, bullying

model longships, swords, shields, helmets, costumes, picture book illustration

About the creators

Norman Jorgensen (author)

James Foley and I have had so much fun working The Last Viking books together and sharing our experience with school groups and literature festivals. Meeting our readers and seeing their delighted reactions to our stories and James on-the-spot sketches is a major highlight of creating this work. James and I share a childlike sense of humour and also a love of movies and, although we try not to let these influence us too much, unconsciously, many of our favourite scenes do try and creep into the plot and illustrations.

Until The Last Viking my most popular book was the picture book, In Flanders Fields, beautifully illustrated by Brain Harrison-Lever and winner of the Picture Book of the Year Award, and my most recent book is a historical novel set on Rottnest Island, called Jack’s Island, which won the a local award in the children’s choice Western Australian Young Reader Book Awards. And, boy, was I pleased with that.
I’ve written another two historical novels called The Smuggler’s Curse and The Wreckers’ Revenge, and I’ve really enjoyed researching smugglers and pirates at the time of Napoleon Bonaparte and the war with England. Ah, it be fun, it be, Jimlad.

Find out more about me at my website.

James Foley (illustrator)

My first picture book was The Last Viking. I remember it being a very steep learning curve. Working on the sequel, The Last Viking Returns, was a bit easier. Part of that was having more practice and experience, and the rest was due to a lot of the groundwork being done with the first book. There were only a handful of new characters to create that time around, and the style of the book was already set. That meant I could spend more time enjoying creating each page.

Find out more about me on my About page.


Behind-the-Scenes blog posts

My blog has HEAPS of posts about the making of both books –
each post is tagged with ‘The Last Viking‘ or ‘The Last Viking Returns‘.

Book trailers

Illustration timelapses

Read-alouds on Story Box Library

You can watch and listen as I read The Last Viking and The Last Viking Returns on the Story Box Library website.

Here are the teasers:

How to draw Thor – video tutorial

Thor drawing demo-4web

Click the video below for the free tutorial.

Other videos

National Geographic 360º video – includes scenes of a replica Viking village and battle reenactments.

Viking helmet hand-out

Click here to download (pdf).

Hand-outs for The Last Viking Returns

You are welcome to print these hand-outs for educational, non-commercial use in your home, school or library.

Click an image to open it.

Hand-outs for The Last Viking

You are welcome to print these hand-outs for educational, non-commercial use in your home, school or library.

Click an image to open it.

rune puzzles 1 solution – click to download (pdf, 425KB)

rune puzzle 2 solution – click to download (pdf, 385KB)

Useful websites

Norman Jorgensen’s website

The British Museum – Vikings, Life and Legend – this fantastic exhibition was shown at the museum earlier in 2014, and you can still see exhibited items on the website. There are classroom resources available in the ‘Schools‘ section.

UK National Maritime Museum- Viking classroom resources – Great selection of handouts. on everything from longships and trade routes to Viking dress and clothing dyes. Colouring-in sheets too. Very handy.

Viking Ship Museum, Roskilde, Denmark – To read the Teacher’s Guide, click on ‘Education’ up the top, then ‘To The Teacher’ on the left.
The website features many printable activities related to navigation, ships, and Norse life in general- but the recommended age for most activities is 10 years and up.

Norse Proverbs – A list of sayings that ancient Vikings may have used. There’s quite a few grisly ones!

Papercraft Viking Longship – Make your own longship from paper. Download the pdf, print out onto card, cut out the pieces, and assemble according to the instructions. Easy. Free resource from Canon, the camera and printer company.

Write your name in Runes – Translate words into runes automatically using this free resource. We adapted the translation on this website for the borders in The Last Viking.
When you type letters into the website, you will have to substitute every C for a K. It won’t let you translate C for some reason- who knows why.
The website automatically substitutes a few letters for other letters: K instead of Q, Y instead of J, U instead of V, and CS instead of X.
Plus it has an extra rune we didn’t use, which translates to the letter combination EL.

21 thoughts on “The Last Viking & The Last Viking Returns – teacher resources”

  1. Hello Lisa,

    it was definitely not the intention of anyone associated with this blog to promote an offensive, racist site. We were unaware of the full nature of the metapedia site, having only visited the one page that listed the Norse proverbs. The link has now been deleted from this page. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.

  2. Congratulations on the shortlisting of your beautiful book! Thank you so much for the wonderful images and resource links. The pdfs on boats and voyages are fabulous!
    Thank you!

  3. We are from Thirroul PS and have just read ‘The last Viking’. We thought it was awesome. We have cracked the code on the front cover and are now working on the others! Thanks Norman & James!
    From Mrs McGuinness and 4B

    1. Hello Mrs McGuinness and 4B Viklings,

      glad you enjoyed it and had fun with the rune messages. The message on the front cover comes from a very famous warrior called Nelson Mandela, who has the brave heart of a Viking.

      Thanks for emailing,


  4. Hi Norman,
    2G really enjoyed The Last Viking and have a question. Is your last name a Viking name?
    We are already looking forward to reading ‘The Lost Vikings!

    All the best for Book Week,
    from 2G

  5. Hey there are using WordPress for your blog platform? I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and create
    my own. Do you require any coding knowledge to make your own blog?
    Any help would be really appreciated!

    1. Hey there. Yes, we’re using; free, and no coding required!

      Though I understand that if you are using, it’s different- you’ll need a separate server to house the blog, and you’ll need coding knowledge.

      Check out the help and support section of for more details.

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