Friday, 5 February 2010
Review: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Publisher: Hodder Children's
Released: March 13th, 2003
Grade rating: A-
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was an awesome sword-fighter, a dragon-whisperer and the greatest Viking Hero who ever lived. But it wasn't always like that. In fact, in the beginning, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was the most put upon Viking you'd ever seen. Not loud enough to make himself heard at dinner with his father, Stoick the Vast; not hard enough to beat his chief rival, Snotlout, at Bashyball, the number one school sport and CERTAINLY not stupid enough to go into a cave full of dragons to find a pet... It's time for Hiccup to learn how to be a Hero.
I absolutely loved How to Train Your Dragon, and it's now one of my favourite books for younger readers. It has everything you could want: an exciting story, likeable characters, bucketloads of humour, and a very cute little dragon with no teeth.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a ten-and-a-half-year-old with a difference. He's Viking royalty in training and, like most people, has to prove his worth to his friends and relatives. He's a fantastic character, with as much charm and determination as a young Harry Potter. His tiny dragon, Toothless, is of the cute and scaly variety, speaks Dragonese and likes to pretend he doesn't really like Hiccup. Together they take the Viking world by storm, and show everyone that, yes, Hiccup is more than capable of being a hero.
Cowell's writing is so funny and easy to read, and I can see why this series of books is a huge hit. She incorporates Hiccup's drawings, notes and observations into the text, and successfully gives an interactive element to the reading experience. Seeing who I was reading about gave it that extra sparkle, especially when drawings of Toothless appeared. I'm sure it won't come as a surprise to anyone when I say that I now want a little dragon. I've taught myself some Dragonese for when the situation arises, and I'm on the lookout for any unhatched eggs!
Readers of all ages will find something to enjoy with this book, and if you have a younger child looking for something new to read, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a copy of How to Train Your Dragon. I'm going to read the rest of the series when I get chance, and I can't wait to see the animated movie. It's going to be brilliant!