How to Train Your Dragon and How to Be a Pirate by Cressida Cowell

CCowell-How To Train Your DragonSince the boys love the How to Train Your Dragon movies, I’ve been trying to get the Monkey interested in the book series. I was hoping he would pick them up and have even more adventures with the fabulous Hiccup and Toothless; however that hasn’t happened so I started How to Train Your Dragon as part of our bedtime routine.

Since I only read a chapter or two a night, and I’m not reading fast enough for the Monkey (he’s finally reading it on his own), I picked up the second book – How to Be a Pirate – as an audio book to listen to on the way to grandma’s house. Did you know the series is narrated by David Tennett? The boys loved the idea that Doctor Who was telling them a story and Tennett does an absolute fabulous job.

How to Train Your Dragon
Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.

How to Be a Pirate
Follows the further adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as his Viking training continues and his father leads a stranger and the Hairy Hooligans to the Isle of Skullions in search of a pirate’s treasure.

CCowell-How to Be a PirateYou know how they say the book is better than the movie? I’m not sure if I would say that with this series. While How to Be a Pirate was an entertaining story to listen to, I’ve noticed that the books are most definitely NOT like the movies. At all. In the movies, Hiccup shoots down a Night Fury during a dragon raid on Berk and ends up becoming friends with him; Snoutlout is a typical jock, but not overly aggressive; and the girls – Astrid and Ruffnut – don’t expect to see them at all.  In the books, Hiccup meets Toothless when he steals him from the dragon hatchery as a baby dragon (see How to Train Your Dragon); Snoutlout is an overly aggressive bully who wants nothing more than to oust Hiccup from the tribe and become chief at any cost; and Hiccup can actually converse with the dragons since they can talk (see How to Speak Dragonese).

So yeah, the books have been nothing like the movies so far. Now to clarify, this isn’t a bad thing; however I’ve been on such a Dragon Riders of Berk kick lately, that not having my familiar characters appear in the stories threw me a little. So I have to say this…if you’ve seen the movies and decided to pick up a How to Train Your Dragon book to get more adventures, don’t go in with expectations of what you’ve seen on the screen. You’ll be disappointed.

With that said, How to Train Your Dragon and How to Be a Pirate have been really enjoyable. Since the dragons can speak (but only to Hiccup since he’s the only one who can understand them), it’s added a different spin on the interactions between Hiccup and Toothless. Add in the fact that Hiccup and Toothless don’t have an immediate bond, the camaraderie like they do in the movies, it makes for a completely different adventure every time. The two are still trying to figure out each other and the roles they will play for the Hooligan Tribe, but they are learning. Both learn something new with each new adventure and watching this relationship grow is fascinating.

Regardless of the differences, the How to Train Your Dragon series is still just as captivating as the film version. I must reiterate though…don’t start these books thinking you’ll get more Dragon Riders of Berk, because you won’t. Instead you will get more fantastic adventures filled with vikings, dragons, and all sorts of chaos with familiar characters who are still learning and growing.

Read 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
How to Seize a Dragon’s Jewel
How to Betray a Dragon’s Hero
How to Fight a Dragon’s Fury (Nov 3, 2015)
The Day of the Dreader
The Incomplete Book of Dragons
The Complete Book of Dragons: A Guide to Dragon Species

About Jackie 3203 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.