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Painting Aalesund Review by Jenny Thompson

By Tod B. Stewart; illustrated by Greg White
Tate Publishing
127 East Trade Center Terrace
Mustang, OK 73064

Painting Aalesund is an enchanting story about a ten-year-old boy who has a dream and ultimately changes the world around him by fulfilling that dream. Trond lives in a town called Aalesund, Norway, where the buildings have been intricately designed but lack any color. Trond's greatest desire is to see those buildings illuminated by bright and glorious color, but he struggles to find the resources to paint the buildings. In the end, his hard work pays off, and Trond becomes the hero of this little town.

Through the telling of this quaint tale, author Tod B. Stewart, has woven in details of the history and culture of this Norwegian seascape. As Trond's grandfather teaches Trond about the fires that ravaged their town in the past and tells of Germany's help in rebuilding the structures, the reader learns much about what life was like for Norwegians during the early 1900s. Along the way, the reader also learns a few Norwegian words and phrases. Mr. Stewart uses the characters as likable travel guides who love their town and compel the reader to feel at home in Aalesund.

Though Trond is a mere boy, he doesn't allow that to stop him from following his dreams. He finds creative ways to help him reach his goal. He is given jobs and responsibilities, and his strong work ethic keeps him motivated. As a boy who takes initiative to pursue something important to him, Trond is a wonderful role model for boys and girls alike. Because of his determination to see the painting of his town through to the end, the townspeople rally around him and pitch in to help. Many great lessons can be learned from this story.

This book will appeal to older elementary children, but I believe adults will enjoy it as well. Learning about other cultures is one of the many benefits of homeschooling. Reading books such as Painting Aalesund will help to broaden the horizons of our children, allowing them to experience life in someone else's shoes. The author's website ( provides readers with links that will help them delve deeper into the history, current culture, and architecture of the little Norwegian town featured in the book. The publishers have also offered a free audio download of the book when you purchase the paperback. Homeschoolers will love these additional features, which will round out a perfect unit study on the book.

I recommend Painting Aalesund without hesitation if you are looking for a charming story of a child who inspires others through his spirit of determination. Trond embodies the Scripture that says, "Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith, and purity, show yourself an example to those who believe." (1 Timothy 4:12)

Product review by Jenny Thompson, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, February 2010