How to be a pirate? Why, you have to practice sword fighting at sea, dragon training, and insulting the enemyalso known as rudery. In Hiccup's case, you also have to find the treasure, if you are to prove yourself as the true heir to Grimbeard the Ghastly. Unfortunately, Hiccup is not very good at any of these skills. He nearly drowns trying to swordfight at sea, and his dragon fails to find the treasure on the Isle of the Skullions, horrible creatures with terrifying teeth and claws that can neither see nor hear, but can smell the tiniest aroma. Once the treasure, found by his cousin, is on its way home, Hiccup learns several valuable lessons, including the fact that he is a wonderful swordsman when he uses his left hand, and the fact that treasure can cause treachery, as in the case of Alvin the Poor-but-Honest-Farmer, and fighting amongst brothers. Hiccup ultimately finds the true treasure, but conceals its location until the tribe is civilized enough to handle it. The plethora of nonsensical alliterative names makes it hard to keep track of the characters. It is also confusing to find that although this purports to be a journal, it is written not only in third person, but with a narrator who is visible at times. Still, the story is exciting and the author's drawings are very wry and amusing. Cautionthis is definitely a "boys only" book. The ubiquitous bathroom humor will likely disenchant most girls. 2005 (orig. 2004), Little Brown and Company, Ages 8 to 12.
Moira Rose Donohue
Gr 4-6-The sequel to How to Train Your Dragon (Little, Brown, 2004) continues the adventures of the son of Stoick the Vast and future leader of the Hairy Hooligan Viking tribe. Although the skinny, freckled Hiccup has more brains than the rest of the Hairy Hooligans put together, he has a hard time garnering respect from anyone, least of all his arch-rival, Snotlout. It doesn't help that Hiccup's dragon, Toothless, is predisposed to hypochondria and cowardice. During a pirate-training session, them meet up with charming "Alvin the Poor-But-Honest-Farmer," who is keen to help them discover the legendary treasure of Grimbeard the Ghastly. After a series of hair-raising, humorous escapades on the high seas, a deadly island, and an undersea cavern, Hiccup learns some surprising things about his previously undervalued abilities. The usual motifs of deceptive appearances, last-minute escapes, and the merits of inner worth are addressed with humor that is accessible to both reluctant and avid readers. Cheeky drawings in the style of grade-school doodles add to the general appeal of the tale.-Farida S. Dowler, Mercer Island Library, WA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Quick wit and a heroic heart win out over brawn and bravado in this follow-up to How to Train Your Dragon (2004). Mild-mannered Viking-in-training Hiccup-son of Stoick the Vast, "Terror of the Seas, Most High Ruler of the Hooligans, O Hear His Name and Tremble, Ugh, Ugh"-and his pipsqueak dragon, Toothless, survive storm, shipwreck, monsters, brutal outlaws and the jeers of bullying classmates to discover a huge treasure left by his renowned ancestor Grimbeard the Ghastly. Cowell works very hard to envelop events in a mantle of farce, inflicting characters with proudly borne names like Gobber the Belch and Hugefarts while strewing sudden disasters, stupid comments and crudely drawn sketches or inkblots throughout, but beneath it all, this is a semiserious exploration of what true heroism and leadership are all about. Not only does the larger-than-life Stoick turn out to be a loving father, but, having seen the ugly effects even a taste of treasure has on his fellow Hooligans, in the end Hiccup wisely elects to leave the real hoard hidden. Rank it with Debi Gliori's Pure Dead series, a cut above Philip Ardagh's out and out slapstick. (Fiction. 10-12)
Praise for How to Train Your Dragon: How to Be a Pirate:
"Quick wit and a heroic heart win out over brawn and bravado... but underneath it all, this is [an] exploration of what true heroism and leadership are all about."Kirkus"
Motifs of deceptive appearances, last-minute escapes, and the merits of inner worth are addressed with humor that is accessible to both reluctant and avid readers."School Library Journal
Praise for How to Train Your Dragon:
IRA and CBC Children's Choices List 2005
"Short chapters, clever slapstick, kid-pleasing character names and goofy, childlike drawings will keep even reluctant readers turning these pagesand chuckling as they go."Publishers Weekly"
A narrative rich in dragon muck... genuinely fierce [and] intelligent."Kirkus"
...This is a goofy and exciting tale of an underdog who proves that brains can be just as important as brawn. Kids will hoot at the ridiculous names and sympathize with Hiccup's exasperation with his truly obstinate but strangely lovable dragon. A delightful read."School Library Journal"
This hilarious farce will appeal to heroic fiction fans."Booklist