Friday, November 4, 2016

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Reviewed by Ambrea

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is an extraordinary Viking hero known throughout the world as the “Dragon Whisperer,” but he wasn’t always the formidable Viking warrior he is today; in fact, he was quite small for his age and terribly quiet compared to his loud, boisterous father who was Chief of the Hairy Hooligans.  One day, Hiccup captures a dragon to train and discovers that life is much different when you have a dragon at your heel.

How to Train Your Dragon is an excellent little book.  It’s fun and original and, for a kid of a certain age, it’s an awesome story.  It’s geared for a younger audience, which is obvious in the writing, but it’s still appealing, even for adults, for its silly sense of humor and its originality—and how it managed to capture real life dilemmas, like forming friendship and dealing with bullies and living up to the expectations of parents.

I really liked the diversity of dragons involved in Cressida Cowell’s novel.  Like the movie of the same title, How to Train Your Dragon has a fantastic variety of dragons with unique skills and traits that make them a bit tricky to handle.  You have dragons that fly, dragons that swim or stomp around; you have dragons the size of small citrus fruits, and dragons the size of mountains; you have dragons that breathe fire, dragons that spit poison, and dragons that chew with their sizable teeth.  Truthfully, I found it fun and exciting to see what new dragons the book would introduce next.

And speaking of the movie, I should mention I absolutely loved watching How to Train Your Dragon.  I loved the diversity of dragons, the oddball heroes, the funny and endearing characters, the wild misadventures to be had by Hiccup and friends.   Honestly, I was a little spoiled by the movies—and so, I was a tad disappointed by the book.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great book.  I loved Hiccup, who is shy and thoughtful and nervous, and I couldn’t help but enjoy the Hairy Scary Librarian.  (He only received a mention, but I was tickled by the idea of a Viking librarian.)  Overall, it’s a good, wholesome book full of fun:  Hiccup landing into trouble as he tries to train his dragon, Hiccup and Toothless struggling to get along, Hiccup coming up with ingenious ways to fight and train dragons.  It’s a great children’s book.  But I would warn those who loved the movies shouldn’t go into this book with the same expectations or story in mind.  Don’t judge a book by its movie, as the saying goes.

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