Review Blog

Jul 14 2014

How to train your dragon by Cressida Cowell

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Little, Brown & Company, 2014. ISBN 9780316085274. Recommended for children aged 8-12. To become a Viking hero it was a tradition of the Hooligan Tribe to undertake the dreaded Dragon Initiation Programme. Failure meant banishment from the tribe forever.
The unremarkable Hiccup, the son of Viking Chieftain Stoic the Vast, and a member of the Hairy Hooligans, must capture a sleeping baby dragon from the cave in Wild Dragon Cliff, preferably without awakening the mass, take it back to the village and train it to obey and catch fish for him. No easy task.
Hiccup and his little dragon, Toothless, are scorned and bullied by other members of the gang. He has great difficulty training his reluctant dragon, but patience pays off and Toothless eventually proves to be very heroic when most needed.
All the characters have unbecoming names such as Snotlout, Thuggery, Baggybum and Gobber, who is a six-and-a-half foot giant with a mad glint in his one working eye and a beard like exploding fireworks.
The teenage Hooligans and their counterparts, the Meatheads, initially clash in fierce rivalry. A dreadful crisis threatens the entire village and the 'Big Drums' summon the two teams of boys, who must work together to overcome two humungous dragons, causing spectacular havoc.
Brave Hiccup, the only person who can converse with dragons, devises a remarkably clever plan and endures a mindboggling experience with Green Death and, with Toothless helping, struggles to outwit the monsters, to avert a catastrophe.
Joan Kerr-Smith.

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