Book Review: “How to Be a Pirate” by Cressida Cowell

[button color=”black” size=”big” link=”″ target=”blank” ]Purchase here[/button]

How to Be a Pirate
by Cressida Cowell

Book 2 of How to Train Your Dragon continues the boyhood memoirs of the great Viking hero Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III and Toothless, his disobedient little dragon. After having saved his village from an undersea mountain with fangs and an appetite for human flesh, Hiccup has returned to his normal spot at the bottom of the class in Gobber the Belch’s Pirate Training program. His lesson on sword fighting at sea, for example, is about to end with Hiccup impaled on the sword of his bullying, swaggering, Snotface rival when their ship collides with a floating coffin.

According to the inscription on its lid, the coffin belongs to Hiccup’s great-great-grandfather, a notorious pirate named Grimbeard the Ghastly. The grown-ups of Hiccup’s tribe decide to open the coffin in spite of its warning of dire curses on anyone who does so. Instead of a treasure, however, they find a man inside the coffin. Not a dead man, either, but a hook-handed, smooth-talking stranger who calls himself Alvin the Poor-but-Honest Farmer. Actually Alvin is the murderous chief of the Outcasts, the most feared and evil tribe of Viking pirates, and his plan is to rob the Hairy Hooligans (that’s Hiccup’s tribe) of their ancestral treasure, then sell them into slavery.

The only person standing in Alvin’s way is a skinny, freckle-faced, ordinary-looking boy with no apparent heroic qualities, a boy named Hiccup. No one listens when Hiccup warns of freakish danger and treachery. Somehow it is up to him to ensure the survival of his father Stoick and the entire daft tribe. And though certain bigger and stronger boys fancy themselves a more likely heir to the tribal chieftancy (cough-Snotface Snotlout-cough), Hiccup’s resourcefulness and courage prove him to be the heir of Grimbeard the Ghastly, the equal of Alvin the Pirate, and able to survive a deadly horror that slumbers at the bottom of the sea…