All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

on December 6, 2019

How To Train Your Dragon (How To Train Your Dragon #1)
Cressida Cowell
Hodder Children’s Books
2009 (originally 2003), 224p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a truly extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as “the Dragon Whisperer”…but it wasn’t always so. Travel back to the days when the mighty warrior was just a boy, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. Can Hiccup capture a dragon and train it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventure as the small boy finds a better way to train his dragon and become a hero!

Not the sort of thing I’d normally read!

The other week my older son and I were in a salt therapy session for his croup and my hay fever and we were the first there so they asked him what he wanted to watch. I have never seen How To Train Your Dragon but I’ve always wanted to, so we watched that. Unfortunately the sessions are only 45m so I only saw the first half of the movie but I thought that it was really cute and quite enjoyable. I know there’s a couple of movies floating around and I’m going to have to watch the rest of it on Netflix when I get a chance.

I needed a children’s or middle grade book by a female author for my Reading Women Podcast Challenge and I didn’t really want to spend a huge amount of time looking for something or buying something etc, I just wanted something I could pick up and read. So I raided my kids’ bookshelves and ended up finding this. I had totally forgotten that I’d bought it for my youngest son for Christmas either last year or the year before. Given I’d just watched half the movie, it seemed like a good choice.

Except it’s not really the same as the movie. The basics are kind of the same – Hiccup is the son of the Viking chief but he’s not at all like his big, burly, strong father. Hiccup is more gentle and soft and he’s a bit accident prone and generally seen as a bit of a liability around the village. In the book you have to capture your dragon (in the movie you are supposed to kill them, which seems like a bit much for a kid’s movie but okay) and all of the young Vikings go together to capture a baby dragon while they’re sleeping/hibernating. Hiccup does capture a dragon but he gives it to one of his friends and snatches another on his way out – a very small dragon who appears to have no teeth, so he’s called Toothless.

Toothless in the book and Toothless in the movie area also quite different. Toothless in the movie seems quite sweet whereas Toothless in the books is a bit of a – well, he’s a bit of a jerk, really. Hiccup is supposed to train him and generally you can motivate a dragon in some way or another (bribery, flattery, etc) but Toothless is difficult to train and motivate and kind of acts like a spiteful and also clueless puppy at times, until Hiccup finally finds the key to getting him to listen. But even then he sort of only listens when he wants to.

Hiccup’s differing personality comes into its own when a sleeping dragon wakes up from under the sea and threatens the entire village. While the elders can’t decide what to do to rid the island of their threat, Hiccup comes up with a plan (he can speak dragon, which for some reason, seems to be forbidden) and he gets the other dragons to all cooperate so that they can work together to eliminate the threat. He might not be a physically strong, strapping lad, which means he’s seen as weak and pathetic in the eyes of others but he has intelligence and empathy and he wants to communicate with dragons and build something with them, rather than just yell at them (which is what the textbook assures is the best method).

This was fine, it was cute and a bit of a lesson in how there’s nothing wrong with being different to your peers and getting things done in a different way. The bullies get shown up, Hiccup gets to showcase his brains over brawn style of dealing with problems and I think by the end he’s earned his respect as a potential future Chief and that his methods might not be his father’s but they’ll be no less effective or heroic. There’s still lots of books in this series to go I think, maybe a dozen or more all up and I’m sure Hiccup continues to grow and overcome adversity.

I’m going to go finish the movie and see how that plays out.


Book #203 of 2019

How To Train Your Dragon is the 22nd book read for my participation in the Reading Women Podcast Challenge for 2019, ticking off prompt #5 – a children’s book.

One response to “Review: How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

  1. […] Children’s Book – How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell. My review. […]

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