Here is my final choice for the Decades Project on Bookword in 2019. Having explored children’s fiction from each decade from 1900 I have reached 2000-2010. And my choice can only be How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell.
My previous choices for this series have drawn on my mother’s books, my own reading and my daughter’s. How to Train Your Dragon and the following series were the obvious choice because for several years they had been the favourite books of my grandson, Oli, now 11 years old. I went, so to speak, to the dragon’s mouth for his comments.
How to Train Your Dragon
I had planned to interview my grandson about this book, but time was running out as half term was coming to an end. We were on the train last Friday. Oli was sitting behind me, so I wrote down some questions and sent my pad of paper back for his answers. Here’s how that interview went.
Me: How old were you when you first read HTTYD?
Me: How did you know about it?
[The DreamWorks Animations use the ideas but not the illustrations of the original books. They have also been loved by my grandson.]
Me: What did you like about Hiccup? [the hero]
Oli: His confidence to learn and do the right thing.
Me: What did you like about Toothless? [Hiccup’s dragon]
Oli: His childish craziness.
Me: What did you like about the stories?
Oli: How unexpected they are.
Me: Would you recommend the books to a younger reader?
Oli: Yes, younger than I am now.
Me: Anything else about HTTYD?
Oli: I really enjoyed how each character had particular skills and characteristics.
Me: And how are the films and books different?
Oli: The storylines are different. Also Toothless is big enough to ride [in the films].
Me: Do you like Cressida Cowell’s pictures?
Oli. I like them because they can be crazy but also majestic and detailed.
Me: What are the stories about (books)?
Oli: About restoring the king’s lost things in order to bring peace to the Dragon Rebellion and stop a war between the humans and the Dragon Rebellion.
Me: What have you moved on to since reading HTTYD?
Oli: Harry Potter, Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Me: And what’s the best book you have ever read?
Oli: Now: Harry Potter, before: How to Train Your Dragon.
An endorsement I think for Cressida Cowell and her creations. Thank you Oli. And here is her Children’s Charter, for Cressida Cowell is currently the children’s laureate.
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell, published in 2003 by Hodder Children’s Books. Illustrated by the author.
The Decade Project in 2019
In 2019, the third year of my Decades Projects, I have been exploring children’s fiction from the start of the 20thcentury through my monthly choices. Next month I will be looking back at the children’s fiction choices and forward to next year.
Here are the links to the previous choices in this year’s Decades Project:
The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson (1991)
Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian (1983)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor (1976)
A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K Le Guin (1968)
The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff (1954)
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge (1946)
Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild (1936)
Joan’s Best Chum by Angela Brazil (1926)
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1911)
Five Children and It by E Nesbit (1902)
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