Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is a truly extraordinary Viking hero known throughout Vikingdom as "the Dragon Whisperer" ... but it wasn't always so. Travel back to the days when the mighty warrior was just a boy, the quiet and thoughtful son of the Chief of the Hairy Hooligans. Can Hiccup capture a dragon and train it without being torn limb from limb? Join the adventure as the small boy finds a better way to train his dragon and becomes a hero!
About the Author
Cressida Cowell is the #1 internationally bestselling author and illustrator of the How to Train Your Dragon and Wizards of Once series. She grew up in London and on a small, uninhabited island off the west coast of Scotland, where she spent her time writing stories, fishing for things to eat, and exploring the island. She now lives in Hammersmith, England, with her husband, three children, and a dog named Pigeon.
Read an Excerpt
How to Train Your Dragon
By Cressida Cowell
Little, Brown ChildrensCopyright © 2003 Cressida Cowell
All right reserved.
Chapter OneFIRST CATCH YOUR DRAGON
Long ago, on the wild and windy isle of Berk, a smallish Viking with a longish name stood up to his ankles in snow.
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, the Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, had been feeling slightly sick ever since he woke up that morning.
Ten boys, including Hiccup, were hoping to become full members of the Tribe by passing the Dragon Initiation Program. They were standing on a bleak little beach at the bleakest spot on the whole bleak island. A heavy snow was falling.
"PAY ATTENTION!" screamed Gobber the Belch, the soldier in charge of teaching Initiation. "This will be your first military operation, and Hiccup will be commanding the team."
"Oh, not Hiccup," groaned Dogsbreath the Duhbrain and most of the other boys. "You can't put Hiccup in charge, sir, he's USELESS."
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third, the Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, wiped his nose miserably on his sleeve. He sank a little deeper into the snow.
"ANYBODY would be better than Hiccup," sneered Snotface Snotlout. "Even Fishlegs would be better than Hiccup."
Fishlegs had a squint that made him as blind as a jellyfish, and an allergy to reptiles.
"SILENCE!" roared Gobber theBelch. "The next boy to speak has limpets for lunch for the next THREE WEEKS!"
There was absolute silence immediately. Limpets are a bit like worms and a bit like snot and a lot less tasty than either.
"Hiccup will be in charge and that is an order!" screamed Gobber, who didn't do noises quieter than screaming. He was a seven-foot giant with a mad glint in his one working eye and a beard like exploding fireworks. Despite the freezing cold he was wearing hairy shorts and a teeny weeny deerskin vest that showed off his lobster-red skin and bulging muscles. He was holding a flaming torch in one gigantic fist.
"Hiccup will be leading you, although he is, admittedly, completely useless, because Hiccup is the son of the CHIEF, and that's the way things go with us Vikings. Where do you think you are, the REPUBLIC OF ROME? Anyway, that is the least of your problems today. You are here to prove yourself as a Viking Hero. And it is an ancient tradition of the Hooligan Tribe that you should-" Gobber paused dramatically-
"FIRST CATCH YOUR DRAGON!"
Ohhhhhh suffering scallops, thought Hiccup.
"Our dragons are what set us apart!" bellowed Gobber. "Lesser humans train hawks to hunt for them, horses to carry them. It is only the VIKING HEROES who dare to tame the wildest, most dangerous creatures on Earth."
Gobber spat solemnly into the snow. "There are three parts to the Dragon Initiation Test. The first and most dangerous part is a test of your courage and skill at burglary. If you wish to enter the Hairy Hooligan Tribe, you must first catch your dragon. And that is WHY," continued Gobber, at full volume, "I have brought you to this scenic spot. Take a look at Wild Dragon Cliff itself"
The ten boys tipped their heads backward.
The cliff loomed dizzyingly high above them, black and sinister. In summer you could barely even see the cliff as dragons of all shapes and sizes swarmed over it, snapping and biting and sending up a cacophony of noise that could be heard all over Berk.
But in winter the dragons were hibernating and the cliff fell silent, except for the ominous, low rumble of their snores. Hiccup could feel the vibrations through his sandals.
"Now," said Gobber, "do you notice those four caves about halfway up the cliff, grouped roughly in the shape of a skull?"
"Inside the cave that would be the right eye of the skull is the Dragon Nursery, where there are, AT THIS VERY MOMENT, three thousand young dragons having their last few weeks of winter sleep."
"OOOOOOOH," muttered the boys excitedly.
Hiccup swallowed hard. He happened to know considerably more about dragons than anybody else there. Ever since he was a small boy, he'd been fascinated by the creatures. He'd spent hour after long hour dragon watching in secret. (Dragon-spotters were thought to be geeks and nerds, hence the need for secrecy.) And what Hiccup had learned about dragons told him that walking into a cave with three thousand dragons in it was an act of madness.
No one else seemed too concerned, however.
"In a few minutes I want you to take one of these baskets and start climbing the cliff," commanded Gobber the Belch. "Once you are at the cave entrance, you are on your own. I am too large to squeeze my way into the tunnels that lead to the Dragon Nursery. You will enter the cave QUIETLY-and that means you too, Wartihog, unless you want to become the first spring meal for three thousand hungry dragons, HA HA HA HA!?
Gobber laughed heartily at his little joke, then continued. "Dragons this size are normally fairly harmless to man, but in these numbers they will set upon you like piranhas. There'd be nothing left of even a fatso like you, Wartihog-just a pile of bones and your helmet. HA HA HA HA! So ... you will walk QUIETLY through the cave and each boy will steal ONE sleeping dragon. Lift the dragon GENTLY from the rock and place it in your basket. Any questions so far?"
Nobody had any questions.
"In the unlikely event that you DO wake the dragons-and you would have to be IDIOTICALLY STUPID to do so-run like thunder for the entrance to the cave. Dragons do not like cold weather and the snow will probably stop them in their tracks."
Probably? thought Hiccup. Oh, well, that's reassuring.
"I suggest that you spend a little time choosing your dragon. It is important to get one the correct size. This will be the dragon that hunts fish for you, and pulls down deer for you. You will catch the dragon that will carry you into battle later on, when you are much older and a Warrior of the Tribe. But, nonetheless, you want an impressive animal, so a rough guide would be, choose the biggest creature that will fit into your basket. Don't linger for TOO long in there-"
Linger??? thought Hiccup. In a cave full of three thousand sleeping DRAGONS?
"I need not tell you," Gobber continued cheerfully, "that if you return to this spot without a dragon, it is hardly worth coming back at all. Anybody who FAILS this task will be put into immediate exile. The Hairy Hooligan Tribe has no use for FAILURES. Only the strong can belong."
Unhappily, Hiccup looked round at the distant horizon. Nothing but snow and sea as far as the eye could see. Exile didn't look too promising, either.
"RIGHT," said Gobber briskly. "Each boy take a basket to put their dragon in and we'll get going."
The boys rushed to get their baskets, chattering happily and excitedly.
"I'm going to get one of those Monstrous Nightmare ones with the extra-extendable claws. They're really scary," boasted Snotlout.
"Oh shut up, Snotlout, you can't," said Speedifist. "Only Hiccup can have a Monstrous Nightmare, you have to be the son of a chief" Hiccup's father was Stoick the Vast, the fearsome chief of the Hairy Hooligan tribe.
"HICCUP?" sneered Snotlout. "If he's as useless at this as he is at Bashyball, we'll be lucky if he even gets one of the Basic Browns."
The Basic Brown was the most common type of dragon, a serviceable beast but without much glamour.
"SHUDDUP AND GET INTO LINE YOU MISERABLE TADPOLES!" yelled Gobber the Belch.
The boys scrambled into their places, baskets on their backs, and stood to attention. Gobber walked along the line, lighting the torch that each boy held in front of him from the great flare in his hand.
"IN HALF AN HOUR'S TIME YOU WILL BE A VIKING WARRIOR, WITH YOUR FAITHFUL SERPENT AT YOUR SIDE ...
... OR BREAKFASTING WITH WODEN IN VALHALLA WITH DRAGONS' TEETH IN YOUR BOTTONI!" screamed Gobber with horrible enthusiasm.
"DEATH OR GLORY!" yelled Gobber.
"DEATH OR GLORY!" yelled eight boys back at him fanatically.
Death, thought Hiccup and Fishlegs, sadly.
Gobber paused dramatically, with the horn to his lips.
I think this could possibly be the worst moment of my life SO FAR, thought Hiccup to himself as he waited for the blast of the horn. And if they shout much louder, we're going to wake up those dragons before we even START.
"PARRRPRRRRRP!" Gobber blew the horn.
Excerpted from How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell Copyright © 2003 by Cressida Cowell . Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
|A Note from the Author||1|
|1.||First Catch Your Dragon||2|
|2.||Inside the Dragon Nursery||14|
|3.||Heroes or Exiles||31|
|4.||How to Train Your Dragon||46|
|5.||A Chat with Old Wrinkly||61|
|6.||Meanwhile, Deep in the Ocean||67|
|7.||Toothless Wakes Up||69|
|8.||Training Your Dragon the Hard Way||81|
|9.||Fear, Vanity, Revenge, and Silly Jokes||89|
|11.||Thor Is Angry||127|
|12.||The Green Death||145|
|13.||When Yelling Doesn't Work||156|
|14.||The Fiendishly Clever Plan||166|
|15.||The Battle at Death's Head Headland||177|
|16.||The Fiendishly Clever Plan Goes Wrong||182|
|17.||In the Mouth of the Dragon||186|
|18.||The Extraordinary Bravery of Toothless||190|
|19.||Hiccup the Useful||200|
|Epilogue by the Author||211|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I bought this book for my 7 year old son. He really loved reading this book. I had no problem getting him to read daily and often found that he had gone beyond his required time just to "finish this part" or "at the end of the chapter, mom". I also got "it's Friday, I can stay up later to read my book". The book has great, silly, child-like illustrations that brought the story to life. Yes, the movie was great, but my little one had a great time finding the differences between the book and the movie. The biggest reward was when he finished the entire book and asked for another book to read. We're mid-way through Percy Jackson #1, he opted not to read another "How to" book for now.
Reviewed by Barbara Karp for Readers' Favorite In How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, we meet Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. Even though he is the son of Stoick the Vast, chief of the Hairy Hooligans, Hiccup does not fit the mold of the fierce Viking warrior, let alone a future leader. In fact, the boy’s quiet demeanor has earned him the nickname “Hiccup the Useless.” On the day the story opens, all the boys of the tribe are facing a fearsome challenge: sneak into a cave full of hibernating dragons and, without waking the fearsome beasts, snatch a baby one for himself. All goes well until one slumbering dragon awakens and alerts the others. In the mad scramble to escape, Hiccup gives his catch to his buddy Fishlegs (an even less likely Viking hero) and ends up with a pathetic excuse for a dragon. Small and without teeth, the youngster makes Hiccup the brunt of even more teasing. However, catching the dragon was only the first part of the challenge. Each boy must train his dragon before the upcoming Thor’s Day, Thursday, or face exile from the tribe. Hiccup, who understands the creatures better than most people, tries many methods to make the aptly-named Toothless obey him before the deadline. As the boys work to train their animals, something is happening deep in the ocean: an immense sea dragon is awakening from a 600-year-slumber. The giant emerges from its watery world as the Viking warrior hopefuls face the big day. Yet a reptile from the ocean is the furthest thing from anyone’s mind, for every boy fails the test; and Stoick reluctantly orders them (even his son) into exile. Before they have to leave, an unexpected turn of events unfolds that can turn the failures into heroes. How to Train Your Dragon is a rib-tickling tale that will delight readers from the opening chapter. Sarcasm and slapstick humor combine with a bit of philosophizing to make a tale that works on so many levels. There are a few bits of “bathroom humor” which will appeal to many, but not all, kids. The audio book is read by Scottish actor David Tennant, whose spot-on delivery adds to the story’s entertainment value. Cressida Cowell’s comic tale is the first in a series, so there’s a lot more fun to be had.
It's way different than the movie, but it has the same tone, feel, and spirit to it. Overall, a great book.
I purchased this book for my son... he really enjoyed it... i plan to purchase more books in this series...
My daughter loves this book. I did not know the movies was adapted from a book. I plan on getting her other books in the series.
This was by far one of the best books I have ever read. "How to Train Your Dragon", was above all, hilarious! I strongly recommend this book for people who love adventure, fantasy, and most importantly, dragons.
My 9 year old son and my husband read this book by chapter (my son would read a chapter then my husband). Here is my boy's review: I give how to train your dragon a five star rating! I give it five stars because it's a really good action book and sometimes it's funny. Also it's good because at a few parts you think it's sad, but when you read a bit more it's happy. It tricks you! I think how to train your dragon is a really good family and kids book. Oh and also, if you read the book, you have to see the movie! We just did!
I'm looking forward to the release of the upcoming Dreamworks movie, How to Train Your Dragon, and when I found out it was based on a series of YA books, I thought I'd give the first one a try when I found it at the bookstore the other night. Well, first off, based on what the previews look like for the movie and what the actual book is about, I'm going to have to assume that the movie is loosely based on the books. Anyway, the book was fun. We follow the (mis)adventures of Hiccup as he tries to train his dragon, Toothless, in order to pass the initiation to become a full-fledged member of his Viking tribe. To make matters worse, not only is he the son of the current chief, but he is also a rather un-Vikingish Viking. He has taken time to study the dragons and feels that the current method of dragon training, yelling at them, is not the best method to take with them, and in his studies has learned to speak Dragonese and tries to train his dragon through more civil means, which is generally frowned upon by the usual Viking laws. Basically, there are several morals to the story, that violence isn't necessarily always the answer (even though these are Vikings, so violence is necessary sometimes, after all), that family needs to come first, and that just because you are labeled as being plain and useless doesn't mean that's who you are and that you can prove yourself useful and rise above the labels placed on you by others. The story wasn't challenging in any way but still fun and the use of exaggerated fonts in the story to add extra emphasis was amusing. I don't think that I'll actually be buying anymore from the series, but if I find them at the library I'd probably pick them up.
My 7 year old daughter spent the summer reading this series. She loved them so much she couldn't stop. She has one more book left and done with the series. I'm so proud of her. At 7, there are some big words in there and some strange talk to keep up with. Highly recommend for kids who love adventure.
My 8 year old son loved this book and read it before watching the movie. He actually enjoyed it more than the movie.
We went to see the movie first, which I must say was fabulous one of the best movies of the year, and then we read the book. The similarity between the movie and the book was only the title and the name of the main character Hiccup. The book was also fabulous though completely different from the movie. My children laughed throughout the whole book and never wanted me to stop reading. It has a lot of typical boy humor, friendship and loyalty, parental expectations, bullying and problem solving. We really enjoyed the dragon humor and Hiccup's sarcasm. We can't wait to read the other books in this series.
The author of this story is brilliant! The story is well-told and the vocabulary is both challenging and educational. This book is not dumbed-down for an easy read, but neither is it too hard. My first-graded (granted, he's reading WAY above his grade-level) found this story not only engaging, but also funny and inspiring. He's now moved through the second and third books and on to the fourth. He's also incorporated the vocabulary he's learned into daily use.
This is a funny, easy, quick book to read. The story is engaging and funny. I found myself laughing throughout the book and really liked the plot and how the main character grew in the story. Great fun for everyone!
My son enjoyed the book, he liked the characters and the dragons. He said the dragons were funny and he recommends the book. We look forward to seeing the movie this spring by Dreamworks.
this book is pure funny . it had me cracking up many a time , and reads very quickly , i recommend this book for roadtrips or just for a quick read ,
The funniest characters were Toothless and Hiccup.
I would encourage you to get this book because it is funny. It is about dragons and vikings. There are comic pictures on alot of the pages. I am 10 years old and read this over the summer.
How to Train Your Dragon is the best book I ever read. I`m already on the next book and that is great,too. My favorite part is when Hiccup talked to the giant dragon. Some- times I even laughed. I also like dragons just like Hiccup. And I like Fishlegs, Stoick, and Gobber the Belch, too.
This book is a bit gross for those who don't like bodily function jokes, but fabulous for any fifth grade boy who does (or girl...I guess). This book is about the adventurous, rowdy and rude happenings of a young Viking boy named Hiccup and his dragon. The imagery is great and the fantastical information is nicely thorough...sometimes too much so (unless, of course, you are a fifth grade boy). A word to moms, though this book has 'rudery' in it, the rude happenings are never condoned and only reluctantly practiced by the main character, Hiccup, who feels that he doesn't really fit in as a rough and tough Viking boy. I say this so as to assure you that your child will learn how the most rude bullies in this story never win...whereby teaching your child that rudeness will not get you anywhere, while cleverness and honor certainly will.
My 11 yr. old son is a reluctant reader but this book kept him entertained from the first page to the last. He even chose to read the book over watching tv.....now that is a first for him! He finished the book in under three days and I have him extra reading time in the evening just because of the pure joy on his face while he was reading it! He asked to go to the library the following day to check out her next book, 'How to Train Your Pirate.' YAHOO!
Just as good as the movie!
My granddaughter has just started reading it, she is fascinated with the illustrations and story. Excellent.
One of the most hysterical books I have ever read. I would recomend this book for other 9 year olds.
This is a real book about a kid who goes and has to get a dgagon and tain it and it is action packed
this is a very fun to read,it may be very short book but a really GOOD read.