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HOW TO BE A PIRATE by Cressida Cowell


by Cressida Cowell & illustrated by Cressida Cowell

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: May 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-316-15598-5
Publisher: Little, Brown

Quick wit and a heroic heart win out over brawn and bravado in this follow-up to How to Train Your Dragon (2004). Mild-mannered Viking-in-training Hiccup—son of Stoick the Vast, “Terror of the Seas, Most High Ruler of the Hooligans, O Hear His Name and Tremble, Ugh, Ugh”—and his pipsqueak dragon, Toothless, survive storm, shipwreck, monsters, brutal outlaws and the jeers of bullying classmates to discover a huge treasure left by his renowned ancestor Grimbeard the Ghastly. Cowell works very hard to envelop events in a mantle of farce, inflicting characters with proudly borne names like Gobber the Belch and Hugefarts while strewing sudden disasters, stupid comments and crudely drawn sketches or inkblots throughout, but beneath it all, this is a semiserious exploration of what true heroism and leadership are all about. Not only does the larger-than-life Stoick turn out to be a loving father, but, having seen the ugly effects even a taste of treasure has on his fellow Hooligans, in the end Hiccup wisely elects to leave the real hoard hidden. Rank it with Debi Gliori’s Pure Dead series, a cut above Philip Ardagh’s out and out slapstick. (Fiction. 10-12)