[Book Review] How to Train Your Dragon

httyd_book1Title: How to Train Your Dragon (How to Train Your Dragon series, #1) Author: Cressida Cowell
Genre: Fantasy, Middle grade
Published: 2003 by Hodder Children’s Books (UK), Little, Brown Books (US) Recommended for ages 8 and up
Source: Borrowed from a friend
Audiobook: Narrated by David Tennant

WHAT’S THE BOOK ABOUT? Here’s a description from the author’s website:

Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was an awesome sword-fighter, a dragon-whisperer and the greatest Viking Hero who ever lived. But it wasn’t always like that. In fact, in the beginning, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III was the most put upon Viking you’d ever seen. Not loud enough to make himself heard at dinner with his father, Stoick the Vast; not hard enough to beat his chief rival, Snotlout, at Bashyball, the number one school sport and CERTAINLY not stupid enough to go into a cave full of dragons to find a pet… It’s time for Hiccup to learn how to be a Hero.

WHAT DID I THINK OF THE BOOK? I listened to the audiobook instead, which was read by the very talented and lovely Scottish actor, David Tennant. He’s a very engaging narrator. He read it with such emotion and versatility. The kind of voices and accents he did were very enjoyable to listen to. I really liked the book. It was fun, entertaining, and has heart. Dragonese (the language dragons speak) is pretty hilarious, so are  the character names–for example, Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III, Fishlegs, Gobber the Belch, Old Wrinkly. I’ve actually seen the movie way before I’d read this one. Apparently, apart from most of the characters and the setting, the story in the movie isn’t quite the same as the one in the book. They are quite different indeed, like Toothless was more of a bratty dragon in the book, and he was not a rare kind of Night Fury, he is believed to be a common or garden dragon. They are also dragon riders in the book right from the get go, unlike in the film. Despite the differences, both the book and movie are entertaining and funny, and both have heart; that’s for sure.


  • “Show the beast who is Master by the sheer charismatic force of your personality, that sort of thing. I have about as much charisma as a stranded jellyfish and yelling is just another thing I am useless at.” – Hiccup
  • [Old Wrinkly:]”You might be able to add something to Professor Yobbish’s book. I’ve often thought that that book needs a little something extra … I can’t quite put my finger on it. . .” “WORDS,” said Hiccup. “That book needs a lot more words.”
  • Here are some common dragon phrases to get you started: Nee-an crappa inna di hoosus pishyou (No pooing inside the house please) Mi Mana no likeit yum yum on di bum (My mother does not like to be bitten on the bottom).
  • “They’ve started calling me HICCUP THE USELESS. That is not a great name for a Military Leader.” – Hiccup
  • Although this is the part of the story that the bards tend to focus on as the bit where Hiccup was particularly Heroic, I do not agree. It is a lot easier to be brave when you know you have no alternative.


The movie and the book differ quite a bit storywise, but both are entertaining, touching, and funny. If you enjoyed the film, I would recommend you to read the book. It’s a quick read too. And if you’re a fan of David Tennant, please do listen to the audiobook version as well. It’s worth it, I promise.

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