First Pages: How to Train Your Dragon
Cressida Cowell brilliantly opens How to Train Your Dragon with a note from Hiccup, the unwitting hero of the series. Part prologue, part disclaimer, Hiccup himself says that he doesn’t become a dragon trainer with any ease. In fact, it is a very relatable way to start the series by claiming, “This is the story of becoming a Hero the Hard Way”.
Color me hooked from the start.
We first discovered this series through my nephew, who though he is a sometimes reluctant reader, he loves dragons as much as his cousins. There is a television and film series that are based on the books, and we watched most of them before ever reading any of the books. The story telling involves dragons, vikings, adventure and coming of age, plus a good dash of humor.
After the disclaimer, Cowell immediately hooks the reader in by revealing in the first chapter that each young viking is going to have to go into a cave with hundreds of sleeping dragons and kidnap one. Yeah. Ten boys are going to achieve that feat quietly and without getting killed. Yikes!
We find out right away that Hiccup is the son of the chief, and also a target of bullying as the boys have no faith in his skills or courage.
Full of self-depracating humor and adventure, the first pages of How to Train Your Dragon have that magical trifecta: a likeable main character, an enticing beginning that makes you want to turn the page, and good writing. Plus there are fun illustrations. And DRAGONS! Have I mentioned that there are dragons?
This series will delight both the reluctant reader AND the bookworm.
I started the First Lines and First Pages series in November 2017 as a homage to National Novel Writing Month. In the tradition of one of my previous writing groups, I decided to 'share' the first lines of successful middle grade and YA novels in order to figure out what made them successful first pages. I posted as many as I could in November, and now post the series on the first of every month.
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
Name your favorite unsung/unlikely hero in a book. I’m fond of Hiccup from the movie series and I’m loving the start of the novel as well. Who doesn’t love an underdog?