REVIEW: How To Steal a Dragon's Sword – The Playhouse, Cheltenham
I CREDIT Cressida Cowell's wonderful books about Viking Hiccup and his disobedient little dragon with getting my young son into reading.
When Toothless and the tribe of Hairy Hooligans from the Barbaric Archipelago brought their breathtaking and wildly funny stories to our household, life was never the same again.
Every imaginary game involved the characters of the legendary isle of Berk, with an assortment of dragons that came from his imagination but originated from the numerous species in the pages of the hugely successful How To Train Your Dragon books.
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Cressida Cowell's talk on her latest Hiccup adventure – How To Steal a Dragon's Sword – at The Playhouse was sold out long before the festival began and was packed with boys and girls keen to hear about their hero's latest exploits.
"It is a wonderful thought that my books have helped encourage children to read to themselves," said Cressida. "I think all children can be readers, they just need the right book to come along."
We acquired the latest book pretty much as soon as it came out a couple of weeks ago and I have to admit, I've been as excited as my son to find out what quest Hiccup and Toothless are off on this time.
Just as thrilling is the thought of the several new dragon species being introduced to join the likes of the Common or Garden, Deadly Nadder and Seadragonus Giganticus Maximus.
Cressida spoke about her childhood holidays on a remote Scottish isle that she later used as the blueprint for the Isle of Berk. Her family would be dropped off by boat on the deserted island, where there were no roads, no houses, no sign of civilisation at all, and left for two weeks, and Cressida would while away the time writing stories and dreaming of dragons.
We had to wait a couple of decades before Hiccup was introduced to the world and now his adventures have been made into a hugely successful animated film.
Cressida herself, although not big in stature, is larger than life in personality and this obviously rubs off in her writing. Her Hiccup adventures are fantastically imaginative, hugely funny and page-turningly exciting.
And fans will be relieved to here she promised us at least another two, possibly three more books still to come.
Long may Hiccup reign!
by Helen Blow