Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
In this riotous paper-over-board farce, the timid protagonist from Cowell's picture book Hiccup: The Seasick Viking proves himself worthy of the sobriquet "Hope and Heir to the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans." The protagonist is also given author credit (as Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III), with Cowell billed as translator "from the Old Norse." Indeed, "Hiccup" contributes an introductory note: "I was not the sort of boy who could train a dragon with a mere lifting of an eyebrow. I was not a natural at the Heroism business. I had to work at it. This is the story of becoming a Hero the Hard Way." From his initial challenge-Hiccup and his fellow warriors-in-training must each pluck a dragon from a "Dragon Nursery" where 3,000 young critters are hibernating-the likable lad faces a host of hurdles and beats tremendous odds to emerge triumphant. After selecting a tiny, toothless dragon ("I shall call [my dragon] Fireworm," says nemesis Snotface Snotlout. "What are you going to call yours, Hiccup? Sweetums? Sugarlips? Babyface?"). Hiccup tackles the chore of training the stubborn creature, which leads to some fresh, funny dialogue between the two (Hiccup has the rare ability to speak "Dragonese"). A rollicking finale finds the duo rescuing Vikings from a ravenous, mountain-size dragon. Short chapters, clever slapstick, kid-pleasing character names (e.g., Fishlegs, Dogsbreath the Duhbrain) and goofy, childlike drawings will keep even reluctant readers turning these pages-and chuckling as they go. Ages 8-12. (May) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
School Library Journal Review
Gr 3-5-Young Hiccup may be the son of Stoick the Vast, chief of the Hairy Hooligans, but he isn't exactly heroic Viking material. When he and the other boys of his tribe are sent on a mission to fetch dragons to train, Hiccup comes back with the scrawniest creature ever seen. Toothless, as Hiccup names him, is also rude, lazy, and greedy, but when the tribe is faced with horrible danger, Hiccup's unorthodox dragon-training techniques prove successful and he and his unique beast become true heroes. Sprinkled throughout with funny sketches, scribbles, and ink blots, this is a goofy and exciting tale of an underdog who proves that brains can be just as important as brawn. Kids will hoot at the ridiculous names and sympathize with Hiccup's exasperation with his truly obstinate but strangely lovable dragon. A delightful read that fans of Ian Whybrow's "Little Wolf" series (Carolrhoda) will particularly enjoy.-Eva Mitnick, Los Angeles Public Library (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 4-8. Gross is the word for this wildly enjoyable comic fantasy that takes the old heroic Norse battle myths and covers them in slime and snot. Narrator Hiccup, the son of the ruler, is meant to be the next Warrior Chief, but he's a classical nerd, the least heroic boy in the old Hooligan tribe, so how is he to slay monsters? Grandpa says times are changing and the tribe needs a new leader, not just a big violent lump, but someone clever and cunning. Well, Hiccup tries, but he fails the initiation rites. Eventually, though he shows up Snotlout and the other bullies by getting the two gigantic monster dragons to fight one another, and though events take a bad turn after one of the dragons swallows him, things turn out fine; he escapes through the dragon's nose. The hilarious farce will appeal to heroic fiction fans as much as to scaredy-cats, especially since the author extends the nonstop parody with messy black-and-white pencil sketches of the bumbling bedlam. --Hazel Rochman Copyright 2004 Booklist
Horn Book Review
In this cartoonlike Viking story, Hiccup (heir to the Hairy Hooligan tribe) captures and trains a very small, whiny dragon in order to pass his initiation test. Hiccup's ability to communicate with dragons comes in handy when the tribe is attacked by a pair of giant sea dragons. Featuring characters with names like Badbreath the Gruff and Snotface Snotlout, the silly story is accompanied by the author's crudely drawn illustrations. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Book Review
Facing sneering peers, plus a cave full of vicious young dragons and two mountainous, malign adult ones, brings an ordinary Viking lad around to becoming a "Hero the Hard Way" in this farcical import. Dispatched to capture and train some breed of dragon as a rite of passage into the Hairy Hooligan Tribe, unprepossessing Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III returns not with a mighty Gronkle, or an aptly named Monstrous Nightmare, but a shrimpy creature laughingly dubbed "Toothless"--who also turns out to be about as trainable as a cat, with an attitude to match. But Hiccup and Toothless develop into a doughty team when two humongous, fire-breathing Sea Dragons pull up to shore, looking for the odd village or army to devour. Cowell adds lots of jagged, William Steig-like sketches to a narrative rich in dragon muck, cartoon violence, and characters with names like Snotlout and Dogsbreath the Duhbrain. Her genuinely fierce, intelligent, and scary dragons nearly steal the show, but Hiccup and his diminutive sidekick ultimately come out on top, both displaying a proper hero's mix of quick wit, courage, and loyalty. (Fiction. 10-12) Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.