Customer Reviews: How to Train Your Dragon: The Chapter Book (DreamWorks How to Train Your Dragon (Harperfestival))
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on April 4, 2010
I like reading novelizations of movies and, since this movie will not have anything for older readers (graphic novel anyone?) it was nice to see such a good version written for young people. I like that the author chose to stick with telling the story from Hiccup's first person perspective, which is how it should be told. He brought a lot of emotions and insights in for scenes not shown in the movie and also showed was going on through Hiccup's mind, as a smart teenager might feel. His description of finally realizing how beautiful Night Furies are when he confronts Toothless as a friend for the first time is really touching. You also get a lot of nice descriptions on how Hiccup and Toothless became a good team and, even more so, really good friends who were so in tune with each other that they could understand each other without words. The author has a style similar to "The Hunger Games" books in that Hiccup describes everything as it happens to him. The author also did not shy away from the realism in the story, which I think is good for this age group- both Hiccup and Toothless face a lot of risk in their endeavors, picking up bruises and scrapes and minor burns, but they also learn from it and improve on it with Hiccup creating new inventions to make them a better team. The climax is wonderfully and honestly told, too, about how the Viking youth and his wild dragon show what you can accomplish from teamwork when two different beings work together... but also the respect we owe people who put their lives in danger to save other lives.
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on May 15, 2010
This is very interesting to boys especially and is a big help in getting them to settle down
and start reading. The story is fun, interesting and exciting so children naturally want to know what the next page brings.
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on July 27, 2014
This is a very short read and an enjoyable novelization of one of today's best modern chuldren's films. Aimed at a younger audience (later elementary-middle school level), it is not too challenging but offers vivid imagery. I highly recommend it for all ages.
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on August 12, 2010
I read this book with my 4 year old, and we both enjoyed it. It has some pictures (not too many, but enough to keep his attention on the book). It was a very cute story!
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on August 22, 2010
Getting children to read is important and sometimes a book related to a movie is a good approach. I wasn't real impressed with the story but then again, I don't think that I was the target audience. In the end I watched to see if the children enjoyed reading the book and it did seem to hold their interest.

Some children's readings can enchant an audience of any age while others seem to work for certain ages or groups. This book is the latter.
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on May 16, 2010
While I thought the writing here was fresh, clean, and very smooth, I was disappointed by the simplicity of the work. Beyond any qualms about the target audience, this book reads like it was almost an afterthought to the producers of the studio's, it certainly seems to be based on early storyboard panels and versions of the script and not the finished product. But the greater issue I have with it is that it is a nice book for a seven year old that is just starting to read and needs a short work with a short attention span, but it is an almost completely unsatisfying book for any older fan of the movie. I have no problem with simplicity; there are many great books that have been written for children but by no means should be enjoyed exclusively by kids, but this work doesn't reach that far. It's not the simplicity of language, it's the sparse, simplicity of the story, and this does not work for a movie that was already wonderfully lean.

The reason I give it three stars is out of fairness, because it's not a true novelization, and because it will likely appeal to young children. But I cannot help but be annoyed at the fact that the studio has been targeting very young children in every aspect of the "How to Train your Dragon" advertising campaign which has I feel, created a misconception about the shallowness or "kiddiness" of the film. I really fell in love with this film; not only was it great fun, and touching, but it was extraordinarily well made, from the music to animation, to acting, to the story, to the 3D. It was perfectly executed and it touched on many themes that I hold very dear, such as finding the humanity in your enemies, being alienated from the expectations of the society around you, and coming of age elements, tied into both Fantasy, a genre I've always loved in concept but far less often in its execution, and Nordic setting, a history and culture I've also always had a great interest in. The result is a very touching, fun, wonderful film that I made a very personal connection to, in no small part due to its smartness and the fact that virtually all of its important scene's are have no dialogue and are instead narrated by John Powell's marvelous, Oscar-worthy score and the visual action, which creates both a more intimate and more personal connection as well as a faster development. It's simply rare to get such a great mix of humor, (half of which young kids, like the kind this book is targeted to, won't appreciate), action, and touching friendships, with characters I care about, and a mixture of music and image that seem perfectly in tune.

So after reading this book I cannot help but be disappointed. There's no problem for younger kids, and I'd definitely recommend it if you're looking for some material to get your child reading some more, but there's just nothing there for any older fan of the film who might be looking to find something with more insight or substance. This reads like nothing more than a hasty, and completely functional, scene by scene summation of the film. I was hoping to find a real novelization, one on at least the level and story-depth that Cowell's books were, one that might expand upon the wonderful nuances and story of the film; a book that would be a fun little read and make me appreciate the film even more and in a different way, and perhaps even fill in more of what I wanted from it. Oh well. If you're looking for that kind of thing you won't find it here, but it's a charming little read for a 2nd Grader.
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on March 28, 2013
Our daughter loves all things "How to Train Your Dragon." This was a must have. Now that she is reading well she has been inspired to read her dragon books. So glad I bought this!
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on July 12, 2014
Book arrived quite quickly, however has major differences, but it is a childrens book afterall. Worth the read, but sadly not the buy.
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on August 12, 2013
This was a great book for my grandson. He loved the story and illustrations. This will be a great book for him to read soon
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on July 22, 2014
My son loves HTTYD
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