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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

How to Train Your Dragon

Hiccup and his fellow peers are at that tender age where you have to prove you have the guts to stay in the Hairy Hooligan Tribe. In order to stay in the tribe Hiccup and his peers must each catch a dragon and then train it to sit, stay, and catch fish. For any Viking worth his salt will have a lean mean killing machine - or dragon.

On the day that all the boys are to catch their dragon's Gobber the Belch (the Viking in charge of initiation) tells the kids what's on the line if they should fail. He tells the boys

"I need not tell you . . . that if your return to this spot without a dragon, it is hardly worth coming back at all." (p9)

Each child is given a dragon basket and they all begin the climb up the dangerous wall. The majority of the boys of The Hairy Hooligan Tribe don't like Hiccup - in fact they call him Hiccup the Useless. When everyone comes back from catching their dragons they can't help but show them off. Everyone is in awe of Snoutlout and his Nightmare Dragon (only the Chief's son of the Chief can have a Nightmare Dragon). Fishlegs gets Hiccup into trouble when he says that only Hiccup can have Snoutlout's dragon, since after all he is the Chief's son. It doesn't help that Hiccup's dragon is the tiniest dragon around and he's tootless. The boys decide to give Hiccup a new name : Hiccup the Useless and his dragon Toothless.

Things don't get better. After his dragon Toothless wakes up from his dragon slumber, he begins to train him. The normal Viking way is to yell at a dragon as loud as you can - however Hiccup doesn't think that will work, so he speaks to Toothless in dragonese.

When the big day comes, all the boys assemble to show the tribe how they've trained their dragon. Any boy whose dragon is not trained will be BANISHED! The problem for Hiccup is that Toothless is a rather disobedient little thing. When Toothless gets all the dragons to fight - and disobey their masters - the tribe has no choice but to banish the boys. That is until the Sea Dragon Maximum decides to awaken from its slumber and begin to terrorize the village. The only hope for the Hairy Hooligan Tribe is Hiccup.

Ok. This is for all you Liberians out there and I know you'll love this. The book that the kids could read, if they wanted to know more about training their dragon was called "How to Train your Dragon", and inside the book was a little blurb about the library. It went as follows :

"Meathead Public Library. A note from the Hairy Scary Librarian: Please Return this book on or before the last date stamped or I will be VERY ANNOYED. I think you know what I mean". At the bottom of the page it says "DO NOT REMOVE THIS BOOK OR WE WILL BASH YOU!!" (p55) and get this the price of the book is 1 small chicken and 20 oysters!

This book was so funny and I could not stop laughing. I love how the names were always alliterated and how goofy the whole story was :) I was glad that both Hiccup and Toothless grew in stature and that they both learned their true potential.

I would recommend this book to any young boy. I think he'd get a kick out of it!

And know if I ever come across a dragon, I will know how to train it :)

How to Train your Dragon by Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III. (Translated by Cressida Cowell) New York. (c) 2003

5 comments:

Amanda said...

We were letting my oldest son read these for awhile until he started telling us the plot, when we realized it was basically saying that gangs or pirates or thieves or spies were the GOOD GUYS. Ugh. After that, we didn't let him get these anymore. I'm disappointed in the author for writing books where the nasty people are considered "good."

margaret said...

Interesting. This has been the only book I've read by this author - and the good person (Hiccup and his dragon) were the heros.

But that's interesting and odd. Why would an author do that?

Darla D said...

Lilyvine really loved this series a few years ago - she thought they were funny. I haven't read them, though. Did you think the good guys behaved in an unethical way? Whenever I'm concerned about a book one of my kids is reading, I read it for myself so we can talk about it. It makes for a great discussion and learning experience.

margaret said...

This is the only book I've read in this series so I can't give a justified answer. The main character who seemed good at heart was weak up-until the very end were he gained bravery and helped save the village. But I do think that the bad characters did get more "screen" play so to say.

Darla D said...

I'll be interested to hear what you think if you continue on with the series. I think there are at least 3 at this point!