The fourth in a new series by the author of the Governor General’s Literary Award Finalist Free as a Bird, this book is a real page turner. Peggy Henderson doesn’t know a thing about cooking. She doesn’t even want to learn, but a job as a “cook’s help” is the only way she can set foot near the excavation of the Viking settlement in L’Anse aux Meadows National Park in Newfoundland. Peggy knows a lot about archaeology and wants to know more, so she jumps at the opportunity to work the kitchen job when her friend, a professor at the summer field school, tells her about it. Poor Bertha, the camp cook, can’t make heads nor tails out of Peggy’s cooking creations, and the students want nothing to do with her food or her know-it-all attitude about archaeology, but Peggy refuses to give in to their attitudes. She would rather be anywhere but stuck in the kitchen, but her time in the kitchen is the only thing keeping her at the dig site. The Viking sagas intertwined with Peggy’s attempts to be a cook’s help make for non-stop interest on every page. And when she stumbles upon a Viking burial cairn, she can’t wait to put her archaeology knowledge to use by being the first to dig at the site—in secret. Students will learn about archaeology, Vikings and cooking by reading this book. And the best part is buried deep under the cairn—but they’ll have to read it to find out!
Classroom Connections: This book would make a great read for a Literature Circle. It would also be a springboard for classroom projects on Canadian National Parks, students’ own passions/interests, and connections on learning a new skill (like cooking). This, and the previous three books in the series, would be valuable additions to a classroom library. Reading Comprehension Strategies: asking questions and visualizing.
[Review by Amanda Forbes.]