Hiccup is turning 12, and when you only have a birthday every four years, you really want to make your day special. But, it seems as if all of the fates have conspired against him: all he wanted was a quiet day- perhaps to read or write a bit, and to not have to participate in Viking training.
But, this is a story about the Hairy Hooligans and Hiccup’s struggle as he tries to meet the expectations of his father and the tribe, all while trying to hold onto his own way of doing things – even when they are contrary to the nature of a Viking, at least in the Haddock family.
Shorter and less adventure / catastrophe based than the earlier books in this series, Cowell delivers a story that is so very telling of Hiccup’s personality, and gives us a little lesson about books, reading and the curious insight into the Hairy Scary Librarian’s covetous hoarding of books – even when the only ‘real’ book Hiccup has seen has only a few words, and the second edition only adds one more.
See, Toothless ate the one book that was on the island – and Hiccup knew that his father would be outraged to find it missing. Along comes Camicazi and her suggestion that she, Hiccup and Fishlegs burgle the Meathead Public Library to get another copy. Of course, Camicazi and her gung-ho bravado and derring do have Hiccup thinking that the idea is a good one – despite driller dragons, Meathead warriors and the formidable librarian.
David Tennant again is the narrator for this series, and I can’t help but look at each installment with a bit of glee, knowing that his talent for voice, accent and timing will perfectly suit the story and bring all of the characters to life. While the story is written with children in mind, there are lessons and humor that will appeal to adults. With the lovely musical flourishes that draw the perfect balance in introducing the story with a heraldic tone, the inclusion of music adds a nice touch to the story.
To wrap up this installment, Cowell adds a small dictionary, a conversation with Toothless, more dragonese and some character bios: all neat bits that show the cleverness if the story and give some needed information to readers who may not be starting with book one. Best of all, for me, is the little speech from the older Hiccup about books, stories and the need / pleasures of a public library: things unknown until his twelfth birthday.
Stars: Overall 5 Narration 5 Story 5
Title: A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons
Author: Cressida Cowell
Genre: Children's Literature
Narrator: David Tennant
Published by: Hachette Audio
Source: Hachette Audio
Audio Length: 2 Hours: 40 minutes
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It's Hiccup's birthday, but that's not going to keep him from getting into trouble. To save his dragon, Toothless, from being banished, Hiccup must sneak into the Meathead Public Library and steal the Viking's most sacred book. But the Vikings see books as a dangerous influence, and keep them locked up and under heavy guard. To save his friend, Hiccup must brave the Hairy Scary Librarian and his dreadful army of Meathead Warriors and face off against the formidable Driller-Dragons. Will he make it out and live to see his next birthday?
A copy of this title was provided via Hachette Audio for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.