I have been reading the HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON series to my six-year-old daughter all year since we watched the Dreamworks’ DVD. Apart from character names the books bear little resemblance to the movie but that hasn’t stopped us reading all nine books in the series and we are both already eagerly awaiting book ten which I presume (and hope) will be released late next year.
The series follows the adventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third who we meet as an 11-year-old (and who turns 13 in book 9). Hiccup is learning how to be a Viking, which he is not very good at. His training involves having a dragon as your obedient companion which he must train for hunting and other essential Viking activities such as being a pirate. Hiccup also has to deal with the fact that he is the heir to the Hooligan Tribe as his father, Stoick the Vast, is the chief which puts considerably pressure on Hiccup to be the best possible Viking.
The adventures Hiccup has are truly fantastic and a deeper, larger mystery slowly emerges over the course of the books as bits and pieces Hiccup picks up along the way slowly come together. Cowell combines well-balanced humour (silly and clever) with truly great original stories that even I am addicted to. Hiccup must overcome the odds in a number of different ways usually with the help of his two best friends; Fishlegs, an even more unlikely Viking and Camicazi, a girl from a neighbouring tribe who is the best burglar in the archipelago in which the Vikings inhabit. The best way I can think of to describe the series is that it is like Asterix goes to Hogwarts.
The books are great for reading aloud for a 5-7 year old and suitable for an 8-12 year old reader. And despite the movie baring no resemblance to the books it is pretty good too!
The series in order:
- How to Train Your Dragon
- How to Be a Pirate
- How to Speak Dragonese
- How to Cheat a Dragon’s Curse
- How to Twist a Dragon’s Tale
- A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons
- How to Ride a Dragon’s Storm
- How to Break a Dragon’s Heart
- How to Steal a Dragon’s Sword