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How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

How to Train Your Dragon (original 2003; edition 2010)

by Cressida Cowell

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Title:How to Train Your Dragon
Authors:Cressida Cowell
Info:Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (2010), Edition: 1, Paperback, 240 pages
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How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (2003)



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Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
I had seen the movie adaptation of How To Train Your Dragon before reading this book, but honestly after experiencing both of them I feel like I saw/read two entirely different stories. If you go into this book as a fan of the movie (or vice versa) don't expect a faithful adaptation. The only constants between both are really the names of people and places! Even the physical descriptions of Toothless, etc. are quite different.

I found this book much more humorous and enjoyable than the movie. The dialogue was much wittier and the story much cuter in many ways. It follows the son of the leader of the Hairy Hooligans, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, as he struggles through his training to become a full fledged member of his viking band. Part of his initiation is capturing and training a dragon, primarily to use as a hunting partner, and Hiccup has the most difficult time. Unlike the other vikings, he's thin and quick-witted and not able to do the physical feats that his peers are. He can't even get his dragon to obey him, even though he is one of the few known speakers of "Dragonese" -- the other vikings get their dragons to obey by yelling at them loudly!

I loved reading about the different varieties of dragons, and even though most of the book was silly, there was still a great coherent storyline with a lot of memorable characters and events, and the ending is actually very suspenseful and exciting. There were times when the humor was very juvenile and stretched a little thin, and a person can only handle so many snot-related jokes, but in general How To Train Your Dragon is clever and fun and I'm definitely going to be reading the rest of the series. ( )
  vombatiformes | Apr 16, 2014 |
I first picked this book because I saw this movie and really enjoyed it. This book, however, is quite different from the movie, plot-wise. I really liked the book as well, even though it was much different than what I was expecting. One of my favorite things about the book was the design. The illustrations were placed very strategically, and the font changed with certain words often being bolded and capitalized. I really like the plot and think it is a very creative story, and one that I believe children would find very amusing. ( )
  L_Cochran | Mar 15, 2014 |
Poor tiny Hiccup, the scrawniest excuse for a viking there has ever been. Son of the chief Hiccup has some gianormous shoes to fill. After barely managing to capture a dragon, a rite of passage in a young vikings life to fail means banishment and exile, he set to training it. His one instruction? YELL AT IT! This proves less than useful since the dragon refuses to listen. During his final training exercise with his dragon Toothless a brawl breaks out and all the young vikings fail because they cant control their dragons. All are set to be exiled the next morning. Some time in the night a Mountain sized dragon washes up on their shores and threatens to eat them all. Only Hiccup has learned to speak dragonese and so only he can save the day.
  stacy3176 | Mar 15, 2014 |
Hiccup Horrendus Haddock the third is the heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans. He has never been very heroic, and is worried that he won't pass the hero's test. He manages to catch a dragon, however, his dragon turns out to be the smallest one he'd ever seen. He attempts to train it, with little success. After all of the young boys failed their tests due to the dragons breaking out in a fight, they are sentenced to be exiled the following morning. Their exile is recalled when a rather humongous dragon is discovered, and they must work together to get rid of it. Hiccup formulates a plan after finding out that there is a second dragon. The dragons begin to fight. One of the dragons is killed, but the Green Death remains alive. He swallows Hiccup, who finds the dragon's fire holes and blocks them. The Dragon sneezes him out when Toothless flies up his nostril. The dragon tries to breath fire, but does not know his holes are blocked, and he blows up. Hiccup became a Hero the Hard Way. ( )
  sbasler | Mar 14, 2014 |
The novel that inspired a popular movie franchise is quite different from its theatrical presentation, as is often the case. In this story, Hiccup is a Viking. Not only that, he is the son of the chief of his tribe, a large and loud man named Stoick the Vast. When the book opens, Hiccup is part of a group of boys aged ten who are about to undergo their ritual passage into manhood. For the Viking tribes, that means stealing and training a baby dragon. Vikings have an antagonistic relationship with dragons. They avoid or fight the grown wild ones, but also capture many when they are still babies to use as pets and servants. All Viking boys are expected to claim their personal dragon when they are ten or face banishment from the tribe. The reader learns that Hiccup fears banishment is his inevitable fate.

The novel is told from Hiccup's first person perspective, and he quickly reveals that he has not lived up to his tribe's expectations for him. He is small and scrawny, and not any good at yelling at all. He is nothing like his worthy father. Hiccup is sarcastic, observant, and clever. He faces frightening situations with resigned intention. He stands up for his friends. These traits make him likable to the reader, and unrelatable to his fellow Vikings.

Nonetheless, he does manage to trap a dragon, even after giving his first one away to his friend, Fishlegs, who botches the whole adventure. Hiccup's dragon is the smallest, most ordinary dragon anyone has ever seen. Hiccup and Fishlegs manage to convince Hiccup's father that this is because it is one of a rare and most violent species of dragon, but no one else is fooled. They call his dragon Toothless, to rhyme with Hiccup the useless. Despite the negativity, Hiccup trains Toothless, but he uses a method none of the vikings approve: he talks to his dragons in Dragonese. Hiccup has long observed dragons, learned their language, and recognized their intelligence. The other vikings refuse to admit that dragons use a real language; in fact, the chief (Hiccup's father) has made it a law that no one should talk to dragons. Even with all these obstacles, everything seems like it will work out, and at least Hiccup will be able to coax Toothless to perform at the Young Heroes' Final Initiation Test and avoid banishment. When Toothless starts a fight with Snotlout's dragon in the middle of the initiation, it all falls apart.

The story is intentionally funny, with ridiculous characters and an original setting. Hiccup is the outsider in his culture, which makes him ironically more accessible to the reader. One reason is that his distance from the Viking way brings him much closer to accepted modern sensibilities. In addition, we love underdog heroes. Moreover, Hiccup acts like a ten year old boy, and this book keeps a young male audience in mind, with plenty of gross humor and slapstick antics. Despite my awareness that this type of story telling is aimed at children, particularly boys, I was still amused. The reading was light, fast-paced, and funny. Within this package, more serious issues are explored, such as Hiccup's disappointment to his father, and with his father, and the superiority of wit and compassion over brute strength and blind reliance on the rules. I enjoyed this book quite a bit, more than I anticipated, and am interested in reading further in the series. ( )
  nmhale | Mar 9, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Cressida Cowellprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doyle, GerardNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lenting, InekeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tennant, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to my good friend, Toothless - H.H.H. III
The translator would like to dedicate this book to her brother, Caspar, with love and admiration.
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There were dragons when I was a boy.
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AR 6.6, Pts 5
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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.

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