Tuesday, January 4, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Book Jacket

About the author:  Hiccop Horrendous Haddock III was a truly extraordinary Viking Hero, Warrior chieftain, awesome sword-fighter, and amateur naturalist.  He was known thorughout Vikingdom as "the Dragon Whisperer" on account of his power over the terrifying beasts.

But it wasn't always like that...


I am going to lead a book club on How to Train Your Dragon on January 24 (upcoming events are listed here), and I am excited to talk about this book with 3rd-5th graders!  And maybe draw our own dragons, complete with lists of skills and attributes, because how is that not awesome?

I have not seen the movie based on Cowell's book, so my opinions are strictly book-related.  And I loved it.  Hiccup is instantly likable and relateable, if you are intimidated by dragons and unsure that you can live up to your parent's expectations.  Hiccup has brains while his rival for the Viking chieftainship has brawn.  I will always be in favor of brains defeating brawn.

Hiccup's relationship with Toothless, his dragon, was also wonderful.  Toothless is wholly self-interested and arrogant, but no dragon can remain unmoved by the power of Hiccup's jokes and kindness. 

Also, can I just say that Cowell is a brilliant writer who obviously enjoys the English language?  Her character's names are inspired and hilarious, and the whole story is told with a very fairy tale-esque flavor.  The pictures that accompany characters and scenes are also truly funny.

Four out of five dragons.

Release Date:  May 2004
Reading Level:  Grade 3+
Where In Dunlap Public Library's Collection:  J COW

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