After thoroughly enjoying the film and the spinoff episodes, Frankie was keen for me to read the book to her. Would she be disappointed, after getting to know the characters through the medium of film?
Hiccup and his friend Fishlegs join a group of boys and set out to catch and train a dragon to be initiated into their clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans. Those who fail will be exiled forever, so will Hiccup and his small, disobedient dragon manage to avoid this miserable fate?
The whole tone and feel of this book is a delight – Frankie enjoyed the pictures and loved the humour. There is a lot going on, here. Lots of wordplay and puns within the names of the Viking characters and their dragon pets, but there is also a really strong, well executed narrative arc with plenty of action and suspense. Several times, I found myself reading far longer than I’d initially intended because we both wanted to know what would happen next. As anyone who visits this blog will quickly realise, I read. A lot. And so I’m fairly sharp at recognising how a story is likely to progress – but any predictions I made about this particular book were wrong. I simply didn’t know where Cowell was going to take the story after the initial setup – even though I also know the film very well.
In addition to enjoyably funny cartoon drawings and riveting storyline, Cowell also added some extras for those who like to immerse themselves in her world. Frankie wasn’t remotely interested in breaking off and examining the copy of the book stolen from the Meatloaf Community Library How To Train Your Dragon, written by Professor Yobbish, or checking out any of the dragon stats dotted throughout the book. But then, she is all about the story. However, for any child who appreciates these details – it’s a great addition.
Overall, I highly recommend this book and we are both looking forward to reading the next book in the series – How To Be a Pirate. And I’ve noted with enthusiasm that there are currently twelve books in this series. Yippee!