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4.9 out of 5 stars127
4.9 out of 5 stars
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on 7 September 2009
I was absolutely in love with the first book of this series, especially the audiobook version read by the incomparable, the energetic, the talented David Tennant. I admit to listening to it simply because I'm a fan of the guy, but it turns out that he only added to what was great material to begin with. Clever, silly, smart and funny, completely entertaining for all ages. I had to have more, and How to Be a Pirate was in no way a disappointment, both in story and in performance. I can't wait to get the rest of the series, though I regret that the books are hard to find in America and the audiobooks aren't available at all. One of my favorites!
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on 12 July 2014
Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III is still a highly unlikely Viking hero: smallish, bookish, not very sporty, with the smallest and possibly most spoilt and recalcitrant dragon of all the trainee boys. And far from the first task to become a Hairy Hooligan, the trainees now need to spend 4 years training to be Pirates, because you do know that all good Vikings must also have pirate skills.
Of course, Hiccup and his best friend Fishlegs aren’t particularly thrilled with this part of their training, and a particularly clever start off as Hiccup and Toothless match wits will have you giggling and does truly show Hiccup’s unique approach to tasks.

Pirates have to train on ships, so the boys head off with their dragons and other tribe members on their first quest: go to the island and find the treasure left by Grimbeard the Ghastly: the one who finds the treasure is the ‘true’ heir and meant to be leader of the Hairy Hooligans. Of course the ship runs afoul of trouble and sinks, and the adventures really begin.

Again it is Hiccup proving his indomitable spirit and willingness to keep trying until the end show him as a heroic character. Even when things don’t always work out, and he is completely flabbergasted by his best friend’s hidden talents, Hiccup again uses his wits and good intentions, with a dash of luck to emerge, if not unscathed, at least alive.

I love the imagery that Cowell uses in her word choices and descriptions: making the word pictures that encourage readers and listeners to participate and use their imaginations. Easy to understand, but not juvenile, this story is enjoyable for children and adults alike: with plenty of moments to laugh, and a couple of smartly incorporated lessons about greed, perseverance and good intentions tossed in for good measure. Of course, there is a smattering of fart jokes and references that will tickle children’s funny bones as it appeals to an adult’s inner 10 year old. And the use is clever: the Hooligan Salute requires that arms flail, voice screams and punctuates the feeling with a loud fart. Who wouldn’t laugh at that?

David Tennant narrates this story, and if for nothing else, YOU MUST Listen. His facility with accents is used to great effect, the Scottish brogue that varies in intensity, to the voice of Toothless that is whingy, petulant and lisping, to the addition of several characters who when they are not barking are sounding like they come from Newcastle with that peculiar rhythm and patois. Tennant doesn’t miss a trick, and his voice is distinct for each character. As this is the early years of Hiccup’s autobiography, we do have several insets of Hiccup’s interior monologue, and Tennant adds that slightly put-upon, frustrated genius surrounded by morons air that characterizes Hiccup’s thoughts when things are about to go amiss.

Cowell has created a hero in Hiccup: not brazen or loud, but the quiet hero who always puts the good of his tribe before himself, and is near encyclopedic in his knowledge of dragons and other beasties that he and the Hooligans encounter.

I received an AudioBook copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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on 10 August 2007
This is my favourite book of the fab four! It is sssoo funny and quirky... what a great plot too! No one can possibly dislike this book as it is so good! Nothing less than perfection!
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on 6 January 2014
I have struggled to get my son reading but after finishing one of the later books in the series he read the book of How to train your Dragon. Today was his birthday and, as one of his presents was a kindle, I thought I would encourage his newly found love of reading and download this, the second in the series.

When he started to read this book he found the font very small and asked if I could change it - unfortunately the only options were to "zoom" from 150% upwards and this took the font off of the page. We checked the other books I had pre loaded for him (A Terry Pratchett and an Artemis Fowl) and font sizes could be adjusted as usual.

After discussing this via webchat with Amazon this problem would appear to be because the book contains scanned pictures. My son will struggle on and read this small font but please be aware - should you be purchasing this for anyone with a visual impairment that they will be unlikely to be able to read it.
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HALL OF FAMEon 13 July 2004
I am totally in love with these books, and if you've missed How to Train Your Dragon then read/listen to that first. The second part of Hiccup's adventures is hysterically funny and exciting. It begins with the trainee members of the Viking Hooligan tribe being coached in fighting at sea by Gobber the Belch in the middle of a summer storm. Poor Hiccup is saved from defeat by the loathsome bully Snotlout when his small dragon, Toothless, sinks his hard gums into Snotlout's bottom, and winds up floating on a coffin with DO NOT OPEN. Inside is the start of a quest to find to lost treasure of Grimbeard the Ghastly, one of Hiccup's grisliest ancestors....The jokes, read with enormous relish and a variety of Scottish voices by David Tennant, are guaranteed to have the whole family roaring like pirates. Even if it means missing out on Cowell's brilliant line drawings of life in the Hairy Hooligan tribe, this is an audiobook to treasure.
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on 4 May 2011
this cd i brought being a David Tennant Fan, i absolutely adore the stories as well since i brought this, David Tennant Reads these stories in such a way that has you literally howling with Laughter, and can easily lose yourself for the 3 plus hours it takes to listen to the 3 cds, in every story, i adore the way he flits from character to character effortlessly , each given a different voice. different characteristics.
if you need a laugh for whatever reason lol, i can almost guarantee if you were a bit down in the dumps before listening you definitely wont be after believe me, and if you dont find this hilariously funny, then your chuckle muscles and sense of humour are not what they were lol
this gets ten out of ten, and Thanks David Tennant And Cressida cowell , you are both the tonic i needed ,
id recommend this to any and all, whether you need a laugh and entertaining , this is a real TONIC
regards Julie Ann
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on 2 December 2010
I got this for my sisters 12th birthday as she had loved the film. I was a bit worried as she is a very advanced reader but that didn't seem to matter. It was also a much thicker book that I expected, but then I was expecting about 100 pages; maybe less.
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on 22 July 2010
Anything that keeps two young kids quiet on a long car journey is fine with me, this did the job magnificently with David Tennant reading the book brilliantly. I'll be buying another one and then planning a 3 hour drive.
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on 16 December 2013
...which every boy and girl should read. My only criticism is that Amazon didn't make it clear enough (to me) which order the books come in which is how I came to buy books 11 and 2 at the start
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on 26 December 2011
I'm reading these books to my 6 year old son after being recommended by a friend. Both he and i love these stories. They are filled with adventure and humour which is understandable to both of us. We treat them as though they aren't remotely related to the film as the film is so completely different. The books do say they don't need to be read in order but after accidentally reading "how to speak dragonese" before "how to be a pirate" we realised that actually they do need to be read in order as there is reference to previous books.
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