Thursday Review: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

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The incredibly short blurb:
Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon…

My thoughts: I love the How to Train Your Dragon movies and the TV show. Well, more accurately, I watch them and enjoy them. My four year old LOVES them and will be having a HTTYD birthday party this year. I also love David Tennant. So now that she’s old enough for me to read non-picture books to her at night, and I discovered David Tennant reads the audio books, picking up a copy of this series was a no brainer. I read her the books every night and when she wants she listens to a chapter and turns the pages. It’s been a fun and rewarding experience but wow how this book is different from the movie.

Example: Training a dragon is a hooligan right of passage and Hiccup is afraid he won’t be able to train a dragon like all the other vikings.

So in other words the names are all that are in common. But the book was still a cute story. I enjoyed reading it. The movie captured the spirit of the book if not the plot, and I’m actually glad, because unlike say the Ella Enchanted movie, which also changed almost every detail from the book, How to Train Your Dragon created an in depth, emotionally compelling, and interesting alternate version of events. I can see the places where the book inspired it but where they differ gives me a chance to explore two incredibly talented creative takes on a similar concept. It’s given my daughter and I a lot to talk about in terms of books verses film and plotting.

I liked the plot, the book had a lot of silliness, it’s definitely a kids book, but the characters had surprising depth. I was particularly impressed with the depiction of the Meathead heir, I can’t remember his name, but it would have been so easy for Cowell to turn him into a stereotype like Snotlout, but she didn’t. Just because he was big and strong and successful didn’t mean he was a bad guy and that’s a message that’s sometimes missing from books like these. It’s great to lift up traditional under dogs, but sometimes it’s at your more traditional character’s expense.

I’m excited for the next book in the series, How to be a Pirate!

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2 thoughts on “Thursday Review: How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

    • I don’t see any other covers on goodreads, but the books been out for awhile, so I’m sure there have been other editions. I like that (as far as I know) they haven’t done a movie cover for the books because they are SO different.

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