In this riotous paper-over-board farce, the timid protagonist from Cowell's picture book Hiccup: The Seasick Viking proves himself worthy of the sobriquet "Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans." The protagonist is also given author credit (as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III), with Cowell billed as translator "from the Old Norse." Indeed, "Hiccup" contributes an introductory note: "I was not the sort of boy who could train a dragon with a mere lifting of an eyebrow. I was not a natural at the Heroism business. I had to work at it. This is the story of becoming a Hero the Hard Way." From his initial challenge-Hiccup and his fellow warriors-in-training must each pluck a dragon from a "Dragon Nursery" where 3,000 young critters are hibernating-the likable lad faces a host of hurdles and beats tremendous odds to emerge triumphant. After selecting a tiny, toothless dragon ("I shall call [my dragon] Fireworm," says nemesis Snotface Snotlout. "What are you going to call yours, Hiccup? Sweetums? Sugarlips? Babyface?"). Hiccup tackles the chore of training the stubborn creature, which leads to some fresh, funny dialogue between the two (Hiccup has the rare ability to speak "Dragonese"). A rollicking finale finds the duo rescuing Vikings from a ravenous, mountain-size dragon. Short chapters, clever slapstick, kid-pleasing character names (e.g., Fishlegs, Dogsbreath the Duhbrain) and goofy, childlike drawings will keep even reluctant readers turning these pages-and chuckling as they go. Ages 8-12. (May) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
This book purports to be written by an imaginary young Viking hero named Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III and which was translated from the Old Norse by Cressida Cowell. It is the story of an unlikely hero, son of the tribe's leader, slight in stature and not very heroic looking. "Translator" Cowell added rough sketches of the characters, as well as sketches of dragons, maps, antique book pages and scenes. The main characters, all young hooligan Vikings, have names such as Beerbelly, Snotlout, and Dogsbreath and they do their share of farting, sweating, vomiting, scratching themselves and getting covered in slime, green dragon blood and mud. The story involves an imaginary country where young boys, in order to prove themselves worthy of leadership, have to catch one of the baby dragons that live in their country and train it to obey much as one might train a dog. Because he is the leader's son and heir, the story's hero stands to be embarrassed if he cannot catch and train a dragon. There is more folderol, including the arrival of two unimaginably enormous killer sea dragons, but most of the details involve the young heroes smacking each other around, being bitten by dragons and making rude conversation to show how primitive they are. There are a few grammatical criticisms to be made, such as why a story told by a young hero would be written in the third person with occasional comments in the first person, but these are minor when compared to the overall vulgarity and oafishness of the characters. 2003, Little Brown, Ages 8 to 12.
Gr 3-5-Young Hiccup may be the son of Stoick the Vast, chief of the Hairy Hooligans, but he isn't exactly heroic Viking material. When he and the other boys of his tribe are sent on a mission to fetch dragons to train, Hiccup comes back with the scrawniest creature ever seen. Toothless, as Hiccup names him, is also rude, lazy, and greedy, but when the tribe is faced with horrible danger, Hiccup's unorthodox dragon-training techniques prove successful and he and his unique beast become true heroes. Sprinkled throughout with funny sketches, scribbles, and ink blots, 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 that fans of Ian Whybrow's "Little Wolf" series (Carolrhoda) will particularly enjoy.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Facing sneering peers, plus a cave full of vicious young dragons and two mountainous, malign adult ones, brings an ordinary Viking lad around to becoming a "Hero the Hard Way" in this farcical import. Dispatched to capture and train some breed of dragon as a rite of passage into the Hairy Hooligan Tribe, unprepossessing Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III returns not with a mighty Gronkle, or an aptly named Monstrous Nightmare, but a shrimpy creature laughingly dubbed "Toothless"-who also turns out to be about as trainable as a cat, with an attitude to match. But Hiccup and Toothless develop into a doughty team when two humongous, fire-breathing Sea Dragons pull up to shore, looking for the odd village or army to devour. Cowell adds lots of jagged, William Steig-like sketches to a narrative rich in dragon muck, cartoon violence, and characters with names like Snotlout and Dogsbreath the Duhbrain. Her genuinely fierce, intelligent, and scary dragons nearly steal the show, but Hiccup and his diminutive sidekick ultimately come out on top, both displaying a proper hero's mix of quick wit, courage, and loyalty. (Fiction. 10-12)
Praise for How to Train Your Dragon:
"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