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How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup…
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1,337945,794 (3.89)90
This is the first book in the How to Train Your Dragon series. At this time there are nine books in this series with the most recent one being the ninth book in the series, How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword. This was a fun and heartfelt read; full of adventure and, of course, dragons.

I read this book with my 5 year old son and he enjoyed it immensely.

In this book we follow Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to capture and train a dragon in order pass his test to become part of the Harry Hooligan Tribe.

Hiccup is not your typical viking; he is not good at yelling or being scary...but he can speak Dragonese and he is good at strategy. When he ends up with a scrawny and uncooperative garden variety dragon Hiccup despairs of things ever going right.

This book is much much different from the movie. Hiccup has the same sarcastic sense of humor, but Toothless is pretty much an obnoxious brat. There is no riding of dragons; the baby dragons are too small for that. Hiccup isn’t an inventor of strange devices; but more of a strategist with spurts of bravery.

It is a very cute story though, even if it isn’t quite as dramatic as the movie. Watching Hiccup move from outcast, to a leader of sorts who is respected for his ideas and action is great and very well done.

This is a story about friendship and respecting people for their differences. Of course there is also a lot of action and a lot of humor throughout as well. Much of the humor is slapstick type but there is some witty banter in there as well.

There are some sketches throughout the book too; they aren’t all that great...basically scribbles. But these illustrations are funny and do add humor to the story.

Overall an excellent story. One of those ones that both kids and adults will find humor in. This would be a great series for kids five and up; either to read on their own or with their parents depending on age. Very different from the movie; so don’t go into this series expecting a replay of the movie. Recommended to children/YA who are into dragons and adventure and love some humor in there too. ( )
1 vote krau0098 | Aug 21, 2012 |
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Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a skinny kid and not really expected to live up to his father Stoick the Vast's reputation as Viking chief of the Hooligan tribe, let alone his long name. From the very first page when he and his fellow initiates are sent into a dragon cave to get their dragons, you know that shenanigans will abound; what you don't know is exactly how hard Hiccup will have to work to become a Hero.

On the recommendation of several fellow LTers, I listened to the audio of this kid's story read by David Tennant. His hilarious narration was worth it, and I enjoyed every over-the-top and ridiculous adventure Hiccup and Toothless, and their friends and enemies. It's definitely a kid's story, lots of jokes that are the equivalent of fart jokes (even just the names of the characters are meant to get a laugh), and very different from the movie but every bit as enjoyable. I'm still puzzling over how Hiccup can be "the third" when his father's name is Stoick, but you know... whatever. Recommended. ( )
  bell7 | Mar 24, 2015 |
Personal Response: I thoroughly enjoyed this read, full of comedy, heroism, rooting for the underdog, and the believable science fiction dragons. There are parts that will make kids, boys especially, laugh out loud.

Curricular Connections: This would make a sensible study of book vs. movie, as I found them not only different in story, but different in feel. The social issue of brains vs. braun is presented lightly, and is a good conversation starter.
  LeslieRivver | Mar 14, 2015 |
This book is about a Viking boy named Hiccup III. Hiccup is not an ordinary boy, and he is the son of the chief. Everybody expects Hiccup to be the best but unfortunately he is called Hiccup the Useless and he is the worst. Then one day, he tries to become a real hero by passing the final test. But he gets everybody exiled from the tribe because his dragon almost killed all the dragons. So, it ended it to a big dragon fight. After that, he shouts at his dad about what kind of a dad he is! But then, the chief finds the biggest dragon ever. Everybody then finds out that Hiccup can speak to dragons, which is illegal. But, he ends up saving the day.
I like this adventured packed book because it about a person he shows everybody his strength and not his weaknesses.
I would rate this book 7 out of 10. ( )
  AB4Books | Jan 8, 2015 |
Very different from what I remember of the movie, but with many of the same qualities: charming, clever, inventive, and just a little gross (Viking and dragon excretions).

Hiccup is the son of the Viking Chief, but he isn't very heroic (as defined by Viking standards). He's small and unremarkable, and he obtains a small and unremarkable dragon - or rather, the dragon is remarkable for how extraordinarily how small it is...and how Toothless.

By modern standards, Hiccup would fare a bit better: he may not be big or strong, but he's smart and kind and brave. It turns out that Hiccup does get to be the hero, when the traditional strategy of "yell at it" does not work against the massive sea dragon that washes up on the Vikings' beach. ( )
  JennyArch | Jan 5, 2015 |
A Viking community has spent years training dragons without ever really understanding them. When the leader of the clan’s son, Hiccup, has to train his own dragon he gets a tiny one called Toothless. Though Hiccup has been bullied for years he discovers he has his own unique talents. The book is fun, but I actually liked the movie more. It has a completely different feel. In the book Toothless is pretty rude and uncooperative. I would highly recommend the audio version of this one though, because David Tennant does an incredible job bringing the characters to life. ( )
  bookworm12 | Oct 27, 2014 |
Read this to my mature five-year-old who was eager for "big kid" books featuring male protagonists and dragons. This fit the bill, but he is a sensitive kid, and I had to do a great many impromptu edits to shield him from some of the violence. There is a lot of talk of death and dying, which was one of the more disturbing bits. There is a lot of bullying of the hero, and it takes a long time for the hero to become heroic. That weighed heavily on my kid, who couldn't stand all the meanness. The book wasn't the fantasy/fairy tale sort of read we were hoping for, but just some silliness mixed with meanness and violence. Lesson learned: recommendations, reading choice chapters, and skimming is not enough to determine appropriateness! This book is really intended for a much more mature audience (I hope), and even then, is fluff with questionable messages. (Try My Father's Dragon instead; perfect for this age.) ( )
  eslee | Oct 17, 2014 |
This book is about a boy called Hiccup and he is a viking. In this book he is going to go into a test with a small little dragon that he caught but another boy caught a much better dragon and and he might not get passed the test and if he doesn't pass the test he will not be a viking and he will be thrown out onto a island where he may not survive.But later a huge dragon appears on the shore of his home and he will have to defeat it.
The reason why i like this book is because it is really,really funny and it is hard to put that into a book. I also really liked this book because I really like dragons and this book is almost completely about dragons. ( )
  EmmaS91 | Oct 2, 2014 |
This book is about an 11 year old boy named Hiccup who lives in a viking society. Hiccup is weaker smaller and smarter than all the other viking boys and he is frequently teased/bullied for this as in viking society strength is worth far more than smarts. Hiccup is also a dragon whisperer as according to the book dragons existed in viking times. This abbility is also considered strange/useless as vikings would rather yell. All viking boys have to catch and train a young dragon to be there hunting companion. Hiccup finds a small common brown dragon that has no teeth. One day while Hiccup is training his dragon whom he has named Toothless, a giant sea dragon rises out of the ocean and threatens to take over the island. The tribe of vikings on Hiccup's island (called berk) assembles and the dragon gets bored and swims off.
I found this book interesting and much better than the movie. The fact that the character is strugling throught the series makes it very nice to see him finaly triumph in book 11/10. While the illustrations are crude and most of the jokes juvenile the plot is interesting and the writing very descriptive. ( )
  iand.b4 | Sep 9, 2014 |
This book is about a boy named hiccup who was not as strong as the other vikings in his village, but he was very smart and very crafty. He eventually gets a hold of a dragon which he named toothless, and he and toothless who were once practically outcast become the heroes of the village.

I like this book because it conveys a good message in that everyone has different strengths.

Have the kids watch the movie version and compare some differences, draw dragons, and tell the class some of their strengths.
  RaymondGraham | Jul 15, 2014 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Jun 24, 2014 |
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. ( )
1 vote 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. ( )
2 vote nmhale | Mar 9, 2014 |
I saw the movie on Netflix and thought it was pretty awesome. The book? Eh... not so much. I know the scriptwriters chopped up the series, but the book reminded me of a Nicktoon -- one of the bad ones that was just gross-out humor and bad animation, trying to be Ren & Stimpy. The book is in the form of journal/account of the protagonist, complete with crude sketches, ink splotches, and the occasional full-page joke meant to increase page count. It has shades of Roald Dahl, but it's a poor imitator. See the movie instead. ( )
  theWallflower | Feb 24, 2014 |
I had mixed feelings about this book after reading it. I liked the book because I knew absolutely nothing about dragons and it was interesting to see a writer write a fantasy book based upon them. But I did not like the storyline. "How to train your dragon" is not a topic I would have ever thought about reading on my own. The illustrations were not in color, and so they were just bland. They actually looked like the illustrator (who is also the writer) just drew them right on the page.. The characters and their actions are very much visual when reading what is occurring.

The big message of this story was to fantasize about how to train your dragon if you had one. ( )
  kwisem1 | Feb 20, 2014 |
Weirdly, this was spoiled for me by the movie. The movie tells the story in a much more captivating, exciting way. It's not a bad story (in fact, it's a very fun middle grade story that would be a blast to read out loud) but it's one of those rare cases where the movie improves on the book. ( )
  EMaree | Feb 11, 2014 |
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is not an ideal Viking boy. He’s too small, too quiet, and too ordinary to be the son of the chief. But like ever boy in his tribe, he has to capture and train a young dragon in order to be initiated into the tribe. While he does succeed it getting a dragon, Toothless is small, ordinary, uninterested in hunting, and, well, toothless. Can Hiccup find a way to train his dragon and become a hero? Hiccup’s story is humorous and exciting. The book includes pencil sketch illustrations through depicting Hiccup’s attempts to train Toothless. The illustrations go with the text quite well and make the book more engaging. The book should appeal to kids, especially boys, between 10 and 14. While there is a movie based on the book, the movie is quite different (here the Vikings don’t hunt dragons like in the movie) so fans of the movie may not enjoy the book as much. ( )
  robincar | Dec 11, 2013 |
Story of a boy who befriends a dragon he's supposed to kill
  shaemakay | Dec 8, 2013 |
Lots of fun. After reading one of the Edge Chronicle books, I didn't think the illustrations of this one did it justice, or any favors, but I liked the story. It could have gone totally silly, but it actually had a plot, and a good one. I loved the character of Toothless. And now she's got me really curious to know what kind of dragon Toothless is really going to grow up to be. ( )
  Inky_Fingers | Nov 8, 2013 |
“How to Train Your Dragon” is a book written by Cressida Cowell. The book is about a boy named Hiccup who lives in a Viking Village and was looked down on by the other villagers because he did not have the same physical attributes as they did. But what Hiccup did have was smarts, and he was very crafty. He eventually goes through an initiation and he gets the smallest, most common dragon with no teeth. But Hiccup is special in his own way and he has a special ability which lets him speak to dragons. So when his tribe gets threatened by an evil dragon the once “useless” hiccup and his “weak” dragon become heroes and save the village.

Personal Reflection:
I like this book because it relays the positive message that you should not count people out just because they are different.

Classroom extensions:
The book is helpful in class because it has a very positive message, just because hiccup was different from the other people did not mean that he was useless. The irony was that he became one of the strongest assets that village had. It teaches children not to count other people out just because they are different but to embrace them instead. ( )
  KelseyBelden | Oct 27, 2013 |
Very comedic book about little boys trying to become vikings. So cute! I was a little weary at first, but glad I read the book after watching the film. I think the book would be entertaining for boys, as well as girls, and kids and adults a like. If you read it, I promise it is very engaging, and will bring out the little viking in you. ( )
  mariahpolen | Oct 24, 2013 |
Did not like it as well as the movie but it was good. ( )
  dragonmistress | Sep 10, 2013 |
If you like dragons you'll like this book.
And if you like to sketch & know what you're reading you'll like this book.
And if you like both you'll love this book. ( )
  sirisaac | Sep 1, 2013 |
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