As I read How to Be a Pirate, I considered just how I was going to write this book review . . . or if I would write it at all.
Then, I had a thought.
Why not ask you, my readers, what you think of certain elements Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (or Cressida Cowell, who translated it from the Old Norse) includes in HTBAP?
Keep in mind, this is a Middle Grade Chapbook written for boys.
With that in mind, do you think there is a difference between “good writing” for adults, teens, and children?
How important is it that the author remain in the main character’s point-of-view, including using vocabulary that would be familiar to him even when he isn’t speaking?
How do you respond – or do you even notice – when the author speaks directly to you, the reader?
Do a wide variety of fonts and excessive capitalization annoy you?
Do you think books that apparently glorify violent and vulgar behavior have a place on our children’s shelves?
Do you think a highly moralistic ending redeems the eighteen chapters that have gone before?
When you’ve been drawn in by the movie and live action performance, how disappointed are you that the book bears very little resemblance to the characters and storyline you’ve come to enjoy? (How to Be a Pirateis next in the series after How to Train Your Dragon.)
Although you can infer from these questions, that a traditional review of HTBAP might not be all that flattering, I am honestly not sure how I feel about the book.
There are lines such as this one, that I really enjoy: “Oh, excellent,” thought Hiccup to himself. “A poisonousMonstrous Strangulator. My favourite kind.”
A group deemed reluctant readers may very well jump into these books with both feet. Getting boys – and girls – hooked on reading is important to me as a reader, a writer, and a mother. Just how far should we go to hook them? That’s a decision only you can make.
As an editor, there are many “mistakes” that I would point out, yet there are several books in the series and they’ve met the standards set for them.
This and other books in the series are available in our local library and can be ordered online.
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