The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow: Icelandic bromance, with weapons, secret panels, and justice

I try to read to my kids for an hour every night — sometimes two hours, if we time everything right.

Whenever I need about 20 minutes to do a load of laundry or make a phone call, I tell the kids “It’s time for the book game,” which involves each child picking a book for Peter to read to Carolyn. (Berenstain Bears and Magic School Bus titles are still favorites for both kids, though Peter will cheerfully read a My Little Pony or Strawberry Shortcake book if that’s what Carolyn chooses.)

We try to keep a chapter book going that both my son (age 11) and daughter (recently turned 7) are interested in, I read a series of shorter books for my daughter (I do a damn fine reading of Bartholomew and the Oobleck, if I do say so myself) and after she goes to bed, I read a different chapter book with my son.

Tonight I just finished finished reading the final chapter of The Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow, which starts out as a kind of sequel to Icelandic legends, featuring prophecies, storms and shipwrecks, generational feuds, banishments and vengeance, Vikings, some wonderful secret-passage cloak-and-dagger intrigue that reminds me of the classic Mission: Impossible (not the recent Tom Cruise movies), and ends up with a climactic bromance showdown that brought tears to my eyes.

My 11-year-old son needed a hug at the end of it, it was so emotional for both of us.