Adults and children alike will love this first book from the series by Cressida Cowell. We follow the (mis)adventures of Hiccup as he tries to train his dragon, Toothless, in order to pass the initiation to become a full-fledged member of his Viking tribe. Not your usual dragon taming hero, Hiccup is the son of the current chief, but a rather un-Vikingish Viking who possesses more brains than brawn. After successfully capturing a sleeping baby dragon with his friends, the boys have a limited amount of time to train it to obey their commands. But not only is their bounty the smallest of all the dragons caught, it is completely toothless!—which leads Hiccup to name him Toothless.
Toothless won’t follow any of the commands Hiccup gives him. In desperation Hiccup even seeks out a book written specifically for dragon training, but even that doesn’t seem to do much good. What follows next is a series of hilarious, rib tickling events. As the unlikely pair start to forge a bond between them, they learn to trust and believe in each other. In the end, Hiccup and his toothless garden dragon end up saving the village from a dangerous attack thanks to his brain and quick thinking.
Cowell, who is also the author of the Emily Brown stories, has created another masterpiece with this series. Set against the backdrop of a goofy, over- the-top surreal background, the book has all the trademarks of a contemporary teen novel. With broad and plentiful humor Cowell deals with issues of growing up such as being a social outcast, unpopular friends, bullies, and having demanding parents. Filled with interesting facts, drawings and extremely likeable characters, this is a book sure to leave readers awaiting the next installment.
Recently made into a Dreamworks feature, the on screen adaptation is out now in theatres across the city. Created as an epic re-telling of the first book in the series, the animated version has subtle differences from the book. A new plot, character changes etc. However, the author has stated in her blog that she felt approvingly that the film remained “true to the spirit and message of the book.”