Saturday, September 11, 2010

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon (and brief talk of 9/11)

TITLE: How to Train Your Dragon
Book 1 in the How to series
AUTHOR: Cressida Cowell
CATEGORY: Childrens
GENRE: fantasy, adventure
PREMISE: Hiccup is the useless son of the village chief. In order to prove himself, he must train a ferocious dragon...
MY REVIEW: First, I will address the question that probably will be the first asked: is the movie or book better? I feel really sacriledge by saying this, because I'm a book lover, but the movie...was kind of better. That doesn't mean this book is bad. It had it's good points to it. I for one kind of wish the movie had the friendship part between Fishlegs and Hiccup. But mostly the movie was stronger in story and ideas. However, for younger kids this book is great. But that's the thing: it's just for younger kids. Adults...really won't get much out of it like I did with the movie.
Now on to the book itself: I like the tone of the story. It's kind of cheeky/monty python style story telling. It's not at all historically accurate but the author isn't trying for that. She's trying for a fun fantasy that will appeal to kids and with this she definately succeeded. So if you have younger children they'll probably get a kick out of this.
But the issue is it isn't really readable outside the age market it's aiming for. For older kids (like possibly the Diary of Wimpy Kid) it'll probably seem childish and for everyone else much the same. That's fine though. Not every childrens book needs to appeal to everyone, it just sort of helps you know? So I'm really rather split on this book. Part of me feels it could have been a lot better, but I do also see that she's appealing to a younger market. It's good, but not great like the movie was. But I think the book and movie took very different approaches with it so really I guess it just depends on your taste.
WHO SHOULD READ: younger children just getting into fantasy
MY RATING: Three out of Five viking kids

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Now, onto a bit I want to talk about: today is the anniversary of 9/11. I want to take a moment to send a shout out to all the families who lost loved ones in this tragedy, my thoughts and best wishes are with you. I also would like to thank all the men and women who have or are currently serving in the US armed forces for all your service. I most definately appreciate the sacrifice you all are making and hope you all make it home safely, and for those home from the Iraq war a definate thank you for serving as well, I'm sure you're glad to be home. That's really about all I have to say about it to be honest. I'm not from New York so it didn't extremely effect me so I don't feel like I should be getting on a talk box about the subject. But I will take the time to thank the armed forces. I have several family members who were in the army at various points (grandfathers were both in WWII, Uncle was in Vietnam, and my cousin was briefly serving overseas, he thankfully made it back with no problem) so I know it can be hard on them and hope it works out for them.

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