February 9, 2009

"How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III" by Cressida Cowell

There are certain conventions to a lot of kids' books. One of them is that the hero is, most often, a misfit. Another is a tendency to rely on absurdity. How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III by Cressida Cowell relies on both of these.

The absurdity? Look no further than the title. Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is the son of the chief of a tribe of Vikings called the Hairy Hooligans. They live near the Meatheads. Characters have such names as Fishlegs, Hiccup, Dogsbreath, and Snotlout. This is a good place for a sigh of exasperation.

In this case, it's much overdone. The story is about a group of young Vikings trying to pass their Viking tests to be allowed to be full members of their respective tribes. This includes the need to train a dragon.

The story does progress and have a few good points. The 400 members of the Hooligan and Meathead tribes fail to scare away the enormous dragon that appears, and Hiccup has to outsmart it. That's all well and good.

Getting there, though, was more than a little tedious. Not quite painful, but not that far from it.

Along the way, Hiccup tries to refer to the Viking classic "How to Train Your Dragon," which consists of the instructions, "Yell at it!"

I picked this book up looking for something to appeal to my reluctant reader, my 10-year-old son. I don't think that this is the one. For any other reader, whether an adult who likes kidlit or an actual kid, I would suggest steering clear. This book is really not worth the effort.

I kept waiting for it to get good. It never happened.


  1. That's too bad. It looks like an interesting concept, but probably just got too caught up in the novel and absurd to be enjoyable.

  2. How could you say that!! How to Train Your Dragon is a fantastic book! It is the first in a series by Cressida Cowell. No2 How to Be a Pirate. No3 How to Speak Dragonese. No4 How to Cheat a Dragons Curse. No5 How to Twist a Dragons Tale. No6 How to Ride a Dragons Storm. There are also a Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons and How to Train your Viking. They are all fantastically funny and wonderfully written.

  3. I agree with Camicazi, Hiccup is my 9-year-old's FAVORITE series, and he also reads Spiderwick and Harry Potter and other more meaty material, but Hiccup can't be beat for just plain FUN!!

  4. One of my favourite book..thanks for good post


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