Last week, my 7 year old and I read How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell together and we enjoyed just about every page! This is the book that inspired the movie franchise of the same name, although the book and the movie do not have a whole lot in common with each other. Instead of being the first to domesticate dragons as in the movies, in the Viking village of the book, boys must catch and train dragons in order to be members of the tribe in their own right. Before the beginning of this story, members of the tribe yelled at their dragons in order to train them and get them to do what they wanted. This is not the way Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III works, as he is puny and not much of a yeller. He has been studying dragons and has learned how to speak their language, Dragonese, the first Viking to do so.
Unfortunately, this does not help him much in training the smaller-than-normal dragon he caught and named Toothless. Toothless is stubborn, vain, recalcitrant dragon who won’t listen to Hiccup, at least, not in the beginning of the story. After many false starts, Toothless finally starts listening to Hiccup because Hiccup offers many tasty treats. But as happens in many coming-of-age stories, everything goes wrong during the actual test during the Thors-day Thursday festivities and ALL of the boys are to be exiled from the tribe the next day. Fortunately for them, two GIANT dragons show up on opposite ends of the island and the fates of all the Vikings appear to be in a very bad way. I say fortunately, because Hiccup is the only Viking to have learned Dragonese. He learns a bit about these large brutes and formulates a plan to get rid of them.
I really enjoyed this book. The characters are likable and engaging, the storytelling is a bit whimsical and fun, and there are small ink illustrations peppered through the book that are fun additions to the narrative.