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How to Train Your Dragon by Hiccup…
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krau0098's review
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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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. ( )
  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 |
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 |
Below is my combined review for How to Speak Dragonese and How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, as it appeared in the December 2013 edition of AudioFile Magazine. (reprinted with permission)

--Even without the humorous artwork of the print editions, narrator David Tennant keeps the spirit of fun alive with over-the-top portrayals of the many goofy warriors in the continuing memoirs of young Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. It's curious to hear Tennant's Scots brogue delivering the speech of Norse Vikings, and his Roman soldiers sound more like stereotypical Italian immigrants than ancient legionnaires. However, these inconsistencies will likely be missed by young fans of adventure and humor. Dragon translations, statistics, and other "factual" digressions are delineated with introductory music and a professorial tone. Transitional music separates the short chapters but is often too loud, dictating frequent volume changes. Tennant is probably best known as Doctor Who and Harry Potter's Barty Crouch, Jr. L.T. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine [Published: DECEMBER 2013]

http://shelf-employed.blogspot.com ( )
  shelf-employed | Jan 15, 2014 |
Below is my combined review for How to Speak Dragonese and How to Cheat a Dragon's Curse, as it appeared in the December 2013 edition of AudioFile Magazine. (reprinted with permission)

--Even without the humorous artwork of the print editions, narrator David Tennant keeps the spirit of fun alive with over-the-top portrayals of the many goofy warriors in the continuing memoirs of young Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. It's curious to hear Tennant's Scots brogue delivering the speech of Norse Vikings, and his Roman soldiers sound more like stereotypical Italian immigrants than ancient legionnaires. However, these inconsistencies will likely be missed by young fans of adventure and humor. Dragon translations, statistics, and other "factual" digressions are delineated with introductory music and a professorial tone. Transitional music separates the short chapters but is often too loud, dictating frequent volume changes. Tennant is probably best known as Doctor Who and Harry Potter's Barty Crouch, Jr. L.T. © AudioFile 2013, Portland, Maine [Published: DECEMBER 2013]

http://shelf-employed.blogspot.com ( )
  shelf-employed | Jan 15, 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 |
Summary:
“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 |
As we all know, movies often aren't much like the books they're based on, and that's incredibly true here. Now, the setting's the same: Vikings, dragons, characters and all that. However, there are a couple of major differences, based even on what I remember from the movie I saw once about three years ago. When you think of How to Train Your Dragon, I bet your first thought is something along the lines of the cute dragon from the movie.

Certainly, I did. Awkward boy befriends adorable dragon. Cuteness abounds. Everyone learns things. Not really how it goes down, though. The actual story is definitely tailored to a little boy audience, with gross jokes, battles and such. Also, Toothless is creepy as all get out. And green.

No, seriously. Toothless is not remotely adorable. He's crude and gross, and purposely poops all over Hiccup's house. Also, he hates Hiccup for most of it, and Hiccup hates him, mostly because the Vikings actually use dragons as slaves after they DRAGONNAP them from their caves when they're babies. That's one of the tests to become a full member of the tribe. As is training the dragon to do what you say by yelling at it. Oh, AND Toothless is way smaller than in the movie. Hiccup can carry him around. If anything, Toothless reminded me of Gollum. Yeah.

Basically, I kept expecting the story to end with a realization that dragons need to be treated more equally, considering that they're smart and have their own language and everything, but that didn't really happen. Like, at the end, I think they respect dragons a little more, but still plan to make the dragons do what they say. I just didn't really feel that much sympathy with the Vikings when the HUGE dragon arrives with plans to eat them, yanno?

Also, just fyi, there was not a single female character in this story that I noticed. Not a one. Apparently the Vikings figured out a way to procreate with only men, or with dragons. Of course, I don't think that's true. Women are just so unimportant they're wholly unworthy of mention. Thanks, movie, for adding in a wholly not historically accurate female character who was in the same class as the boys. I mean, there are dragons, so are we really that big on historical accuracy?

Much as I didn't like the story, because it's just totally not for me, there is one reason I rated this three stars and did like listening to it: David Tennant.

WORTH IT. Oh, David Tennant. I love him as Doctor Who, of course, but now I got to hear him go full on Scottish, and I loved it. He's a delightful narrator, just as you would expect. He even did a voice that was rather reminiscent of Jeremy Irons for the giant, man-eating dragon. I just sort of tried to pay as little attention as possible to the story and to soak in the accents.

I wish I could say that I liked this enough overall to want to continue with the rest of the audiobooks he narrated (which is six or seven of the series), but I don't. As much as I love David Tennant, I would have to buy each one from Audible, and that's just too much money for books I don't like. If my library had them, well, that would be another story.

So, there you have it. Unless you're a huge David Tennant fan (why wouldn't you be?) or totally okay with the absence of women and treatment of the dragons, you'll probably want to skip this one. ( )
  A_Reader_of_Fictions | Aug 7, 2013 |
Funny, and punny, but not as cute, or endearing, as I'd hoped for. ( )
  wanderlustlover | Jul 24, 2013 |
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock, the famous Dragon-whisperer of lore, had to learn about dragons somehow - and this book chronicles his growing pains. He and a team of similarly-aged kids must capture and train baby dragons in order to be accepted into their Viking clans as adults. They face expulsion if they fail! But Hiccup's dragon simply isn't cooperating. First of all, it's tiny and toothless - which is humiliating for the dragon of the son of the Chief. Second, it has an attitude problem: it refuses to be trained. It looks like Hiccup might be expelled from his Viking clan! But then some sea-dragons emerge from the depths of the ocean - and only Hiccup (well, with help from his dragon and his friends) can save his people.

This was a hilarious book. My nephew, who isn't a fan of reading, just gobbled this one up. He even sounds excited to read the next one. :) There are funny pictures drawn throughout the story, and the narration itself is laugh-out-loud funny it a childish way. I really enjoyed this book.

I also loved the 2010 movie which was VERY loosely based on the book. The basic setting was the same - a Viking boy named Hiccup must save his clan from destruction at the teeth of hungry dragons - but that's about all that's the same. In the movie, dragons are creatures to be hunted. They aren't kept as pets. Both the book and the movie are very cute and very funny. But in order to enjoy both, you need to be the type of person who is willing to accept that just because the plot is different, doesn't mean the story is bad. (This is difficult for many people to admit!) ( )
  The_Hibernator | Jun 27, 2013 |
Read this one in an afternoon. I've seen the movie and thought it was the best Dreamworks had ever done (most of their movies I find too unrealistically silly and crude) and now found the original novels in the bookstore. Warning to those who have issues with books turned into movies: this story is not AT ALL like the movie. For starters, Toothless is small and, I think, brown. He's prideful, stubborn, and impossible. Fishlegs has dragon allergies, glasses, and squints. Snotlout is pretty much the same, although more a bully than a stuck up boy. Gobber is like a Viking version of Hagrid who yells and bellows insults at the dragon trainers. There's no Astrid (of course) and all the boys are roughly 10 years old. Oh, and Berk doesn't kill dragons because they think they're monsters. They all train them by yelling at them.

The story begins where Hiccup and the rest of the boys are taken to a mountain to each retrieve a baby dragon to keep and train. If they fail to acquire one, they are immediately exiled from Berk to face the cannibals. From there Hiccup finds a plain ordinary dragon except for its exceptionally small size and lack of teeth. When the dragon wakes up he immediately tries to eat the cat and cause other destruction around the village, including biting Hiccup on the shoulders after winning a staring contest.

To be honest with you, even though it was for a younger age group, I found the book hysterical. It was a whole new side of Hiccup and Toothless, and the writing style cracked me up! Not my favorite drawings and illustrations in all the world, but overall the book was pretty good.

Things to watch out for: Since this is Viking tales, there's lots of references to Thor and other Norse mythology, so their version of swearing is more like "Thor this" and "Thor that". Beats the real thing, for sure, but it would have been better to just avoid it. Also, there's a little crude humor (it is, after all, a boy's book) like talking about farting the Berk's national anthem and such like that. At the end of the book, there's references to underwear (women's too) and some very Viking-ish drawings of it, and a drawing at the end shows Gobber without any clothes on and a naked mermaid tattoo (it's very small) on his rump.

Overall though, a fun and funny read that satisfied my summer afternoon. ( )
  Jenneth | Jun 15, 2013 |
Why did I request this? I have no idea. I mistakenly had marked it as a Newbery Honor here but it didn't appear in my database until, upon finishing it, I wished to record it but did not find it.
  ljhliesl | Jun 1, 2013 |
I rated this book 3/5 because it was a really easy read but it had an excellent story. It is about a boy who got a really bad dragon named toothless from the dragon cave and has to start training it so he can fight with it. ( )
  ekinsluc2018 | Jun 1, 2013 |
Hiccup, the heir to the throne of the Hooligans Tribe, catches a small and disobedient dragon. When the tribe is threatened by a sea dragon, Hiccup and the other boys must defeat the dragon and prove themselves to their tribe members.

The plot is clever and the climax is exciting.

The book is illustrated with drawings and a guide to different dragon breeds. ( )
  SebastianHagelstein | May 27, 2013 |
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