Title: How to Train Your Dragon (#1 in a series of 9)
Author: Cressida Crowell
Rating: * (1 star out of 3 possible, "C")
Recommended with Reservations
Audience: 8 years old and up
If you're finding it hard to engage your kids in reading you may find Cressida Cowell's How to Train Your Dragon a helpful prescription. While I can't vouch for the entire series yet, we just completed reading the first book out loud with good results.
Being a book about barbarian Vikings, there will be the expected lack of manners and violent lifestyle to deal with. The reason we can tolerate this in this particular book is that the main character, Hiccup, triumphs with brain over brawn. By writing and illustrating a caricature of Viking lifestyle, Cowell and Hiccup automatically make opposing behaviors more attractive. For example, by making dragons selfish and undependable, readers are more likely to cheer for Hiccup's thoughtful, responsible personality.