Monday, October 24, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell is a cute middle grades book that is, in my opinion, geared towards boys although I’m sure girls would like it too.  Rob and I watched the movie the other day and I wanted to read the book because the book is always better.

Unless of course, the book is different.  I mean so very different as to be almost a completely different story.  Yes ,there are Vikings in both and the protagonist, Hiccup, is the chief’s son but not really the strong, violent type.  In fact, he’s more a nerd, learning all he can about dragons because learning about them is easier than actually dealing with them.  There is an initiation that will prepare the young Vikings for their futures as warriors and . . . that’s it.  Oh, and there are dragons in both the book and the movie.

On page 172 I found a rather glaring error which I will tuck behind a spoiler tag at the end of this review.  That was a minor issue.  My other issue I had with this novel is that there are no female characters, unless you count Hiccup’s mother who is more mentioned than actually relevant.   She certainly adds nothing to the plot.  There are some boy humor gags that include gross things like dragon snot, which is why I say this book is clearly aimed at boy readers.

But none of these things were really enough to make me dislike the book.  It’s cute.  I love the intentionally amateurish illustrations and the footnotes that refer to other books, books that are real within the world of the book. There is a lot I found charming if not altogether enchanting.  While  I may not have been blown away by the book, I liked it and wouldn’t discourage a child from reading it.  I may even get around to reading the rest of the books in the series, although I probably won’t go out of my way to do so.  Cute is good enough and I’d be disappointed if the rest of the books focused more on being gross although I’d be thrilled if a strong female character could be introduced. 

And for those who have read the book and seen the movie . . .

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