Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The How To Train A Dragon Series

I am reading book two of the series, "How to be a Pirate." Along the way, I have some handy post its to remind myself of the things you may want to highlight and talk about with your readers.

First off, I have to say that Cressida Cowell knows boys. She injects humor in ways that makes me snicker and think any boy from age 7-15 is going to smile and laugh.

Here's some of the subtleties...Fellow Viking names...Snotlout, Fishlegs, Dogsbreath the Duhbrain - the swords have names too: The Stormblade, the Swiftpoint Scaremaker...

and here's a little part you've gotta love..."Grimbeard had been the ULTIMATE in pirate-ness, the GREEDIEST,GRISLIEST, GORIEST Viking who had ever sailed and slew and farted his way across the Northern Seas." See what I mean? BOYS WOULD EAT IT UP.

On another note, she does something else really well. Description. She creates great images using words. For example, the opening pages find the boys on a ship in the middle of a stormy sea. "A black wind was shrieking across the wild and angry ocean. Furious thunder boomed overhead. Lightning speared into the water." Cool, huh?

This is where we can get our kids to run "movies" in their minds. Ask them what they see, hear? What do they smell, feel? Get them to involve themselves.

Another thing she does is use graphics. She has a map at the beginning of the book which kids would normally just skip over, yet later, using an astrick, she refers to it. It is important they know what the * mean, and that it is telling them to look at the bottom of the page for some explanation. It will tell them to go back to the map, which is, in fact, a treasure map that will be used throughout the book. They need to have a clear understanding of where Hiccup is travelling and the map is the help they need.

So those are a few things I have noticed so far. I am only into chapter 6...long way to go. I will give more ideas as I read on.

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