Stranded!: A Mostly True Story from Iceland

by ÆVar þÓr Benediktsson (Author) Anne Wilson (Illustrator)

Stranded!: A Mostly True Story from Iceland
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Based on a true story, the author humorously recounts the time his grandfather got stranded with a friend on Surtsey, a brand new volcanic island in Iceland.

The adventurers face epic challenges like molten lava, melted eyeglasses and scant supplies before finally getting rescued. Graphic novel-like layouts and spirited text invite readers to search for the one thing that's not actually true in this thrilling yet light-hearted tale of adventure. Endnotes include information about volcanoes, Icelandic culture and Norse mythology.

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Kirkus Reviews

Definitely a case of fools rushing in, made all the funnier by its scary bits.

Publishers Weekly

Benediktsson's Icelandic grandfather inspires this "mostly true," magically buoyed tale of a volcanic excursion that teeters on disaster. An opening bit prompts careful reading: "Everything in this story is true, except for one little thing. See if you can spot it!" The adventure tells of how ÆVar and a companion, both portrayed with pale skin, became stranded on newly formed isle Surtsey with minimal supplies and only the still-flowing lava for warmth. With curving strokes and vibrantly saturated coloring, Wilson's artwork animates the landscape with impish faces tucked throughout--a nod toward Iceland as "a land of fairies and magic." Meanwhile, Benediktsson's folksy narration includes many asides, goading the reader along in search of the story's single fiction, revealed after a conclusion that enchants with its affirmation of the existence of a mythical "magic wishing moment." Extensive back matter concludes. Ages 6-10. (Aug.)

Copyright 2023 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 1-4--Bringing the folklore and magic of Iceland to life, the author relates the story of when his grandfather became stranded with a friend on a newly formed volcanic island. Based on a true account, the book's comfortable and engaging storytelling presents the tale in a humorous way sprinkled with Icelandic myths and a dash of magic. In a wonderful marriage of text and images, Benediktsson's words are encapsulated in Wilson's art, much like a graphic novel, which helps enrich the storytelling feel. Readers get a further taste of Icelandic culture in the back matter, as well as through end notes on volcanoes and Norse mythology. VERDICT Highly recommended for public or school libraries. This gently exciting story will be enjoyed by adventure-loving children.--Cassie Veselovsky

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

ÆVar þÓr Benediktsson
Ævar þór Benediktsson is one of Iceland's most popular authors. He is Iceland's first UNICEF Ambassador and is known for launching popular nationwide reading challenges to encourage Icelandic children and teenagers to read more. In 2017 Ævar was chosen as one of the Aarhus39 - a collection of the 39 best emerging writers for young people from across Europe. He is the author of more than 30 books.

Anne Wilson was born on Ascension Island, a volcano in the South Atlantic. Her work is inspired by everyday life and traveling. The images she creates are constructed in layers, starting with drawing, mark making and printing, these are then manipulated in Photoshop. Anne has an MA in illustration from St Martins College of Art, London and has been an illustrator for over 20 years. She has illustrated many projects for Barefoot Books, including We're Roaming in the Rainforest and The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Barefoot Books
Publication date
August 08, 2023
BISAC categories
JUV019000 - Juvenile Fiction | Humorous Stories
JUV001010 - Juvenile Fiction | Action & Adventure | Survival Stories
JUV029010 - Juvenile Fiction | Nature & the Natural World | Environment
JUV030050 - Juvenile Fiction | People & Places | Europe
Library of Congress categories
Juvenile works
Children's stories
Biographical fiction

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