He was just a fat runt of a puppy. He didn't look much like his namesake, Mighty Rover, but when the witch gave Riki Snarfari his True Name, it stuck.
She was just a poor farm girl. She lived alone with her mother in a quiet seaside village and spent her days running after the cows.
When Viking raiders attack, both are taken as prisoners. The Viking ways are strange: their huts grander, their food richer, their dreams bigger. Freydis, their leader, is a bold Viking woman who bows before no man. Like her people, she can be intelligent and shockingly brave one minute, then heartlessly brutal the next.
Behind Hekja there is pain, but ahead is an open sea, and a remarkable adventure for one girl and her dog. As they sail on to Iceland, Greenland, and beyond, a runner and a rover must finally find their home.
Vividly real, masterfully conceived, and rich with larger-than-life characters, Jackie French's rover is a voyage to a world of intrigue, discovery, and surprise.
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Jackie French's writing career spans 15 years, 39 wombats, 120 books, 15 languages, and 28 shredded doormats (she blames the wombats). She is the author of Hitler's Daughter, which won the 2000 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award, and Diary of a Wombat, a 2003 Children's Book Council of Australia Honour Book. She lives in Australia.From School Library Journal:
Grade 5–8—Hekja and her mother barely manage to eke out a living in their small seaside village, so when the girl rescues a badly injured puppy and asks to keep him, Ma is hesitant. She relents when she sees the joy the awkward animal brings her daughter, recognizing that happiness can be just as scarce as food. The local witch dubs the puppy Riki Snarfari, literally "Mighty Sailor" or "Rover." The naming proves prophetic when Viking pillagers arrive on the shores of Hekja's home. She witnesses the rape and murder of her mother moments before she is captured by Eric the Red's daughter, Freydis, who takes the girl as her slave. Hekja and Snarf travel with the Vikings to Greenland, where she eventually becomes her mistress's trusted companion. When Freydis leads a group to Vinland to establish a settlement there, Hekja and Snarf are an important part of the expedition, and the book describes their adventures in this unfamiliar country. Every page is bursting with historical detail that lends an air of authority, but the explanatory footnotes are numerous and can be distracting. Still, readers will find this to be a captivating read about a feisty and resourceful heroine who triumphs even when she seems to be powerless. They will soon discover that even though the title appears to refer to the dog, the true "rover" of the story is Hekja.—Heather M. Campbell, Philip S. Miller Library, Castle Rock, CO
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