“How to Train Your Dragon” by Cressida Cowell

If you plan on reading this because you or your children love the movies and TV shows, it’s important to know one thing. Gather in your mind everything you know and love about the video franchise and throw it out the window, now you have the book. That’s not quite true, but it’s also not that far off. Most of the characters names are the same: Hiccup is still the Chief’s son and seen as a bit of a screw-up in the beginning, Snotlout is still a bully and Fishlegs is still Hiccup’s best friend. Some of the biggest differences that are noticed right off the bat is there is no Astrid, dragons aren’t feared on Berk and Toothless is not the last of his kind.

The book begins on Initiation Day, which is the day the boys of Berk start the process of becoming either full fledged members of the Hooligan Tribe or exiled. The task on this day is to climb up into a cave full of hibernating dragons and steal one they will then have to train. Trouble starts right away for our young hero as Fishlegs accidentally wakes up the cave full of dragons before he’s able to grab one. To stop Fishlegs from being exiled Hiccup goes back and grabs the first dragon he comes across without really looking at it.

Antics ensue as Hiccup tries to train Toothless. He uses his special connection with dragons, which comes into play later in the book. The story is a bit on the predictable side with the test not going as according to plan, but Hiccup and Toothless save the day at the end.

All in all, the book is quite an easy read with enough funny bits thrown in to keep younger readers entertained. It’s the sort of series that would be a great way to introduce kids to reading, it’s simple enough for kids to read on their own but also complex enough that parents wouldn’t get bored reading it as well. For me, while it wasn’t a story-line that sticks in my mind, it’s enjoyable enough that I can immerse myself into the story and have a nice distraction from life for a few days. One of the benefits is, according to the author, the books don’t need to be read in order. Which for me is good since I currently own the first and fourth books.

Will I read all twelve books in the series? Honestly, I don’t know, but I can see myself reading at least one more.

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