How to Train Your Dragon

The trouble begins with the Dragon Initiation Programme when all the young Viking boys wishing to join the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans must single-handedly capture and train a Dragon. During the course of this perilous mission, Hiccup saves his friend Fishlegs from becoming Dragon Supper, leaving himself only enough time to grab the smallest dragon imaginable. The fun begins when the two friends discover to their shame that this dragon is not called Toothless for nothing. This is a lighthearted romp of a book; a pastiche of the Old Norse sagas, which becomes all the more funny when the Viking leaders are called Gobber the Belch and Stoick the Vast, for example. Hiccup’s enemies of course must live up to their names such as Snotface, Snotlout and Dogsbreath and the overall tone of seriously educating the reader in Viking ways adds to the fun. The quirky, often diagrammatic illustrations reinforce the humour. As in all sagas, every loose end is finally tied up. The unjust meet a nasty end, the good and valiant are rewarded and justice is fully served. Hiccup’s vision and unswerving loyalty in the face of adversity and derision render him worthy of his new title Hiccup the Useful. A funny, fast-moving book, packed with surprises right up to the very last page, this would suit most readers aged 8–12.