How to Train your Dragon:
Something about this novel doesn’t work for me. I think it has to do with the fact that movies absolutely moves me to tears every single time I see it. I find it incredibly touching and incredibly heartfelt and loving and wonderful. This book is fine and all, but it just doesn’t have that same heart to it. Not even a little bit in comparison. I think part of the problem is that the movie does such a good job of bringing the outsider status of the dragons into play and we root for their inclusion into the culture. Also the father is way way way less of a cartoon in the movie and his motivations make more sense. And oddly, there’s more time in the movie for character development. In this version, it’s just not as strong. I think the visuals mean a lot to the movie’s success. Also, the movie version keeps the dragons, not dumb, but silent, so that their personality is built up not from what they say, but how they act and what they do. It makes more sense to build them this way since we already have people acting and talking and the inclusion of the dragons is just too much.
I think in the end I won’t be reading anymore of these books and hope for more movies. They’re more effective and loving. It’s odd to me that they’re able to get so many books from a series like this.
I read this as a kid but I was out walking about the neighborhood with the dog and had this audiobook queued up on Overdrive. It’s read by BD Wong and he’s got such a nice voice that it made sense.
In this sequel, Ralph S Mouse who lived at the hotel and got himself a motorcycle from a small boy has run away because he’s being taken advantage of by his cousins. He makes his way to a summer camp and becomes the friend and pet of a boy he is worried about being a sociopath. There’s a funny moment here where he is deeply worried about the boy being bad because he’s singing Little Bunny Foo Foo, which Beverly Cleary calls Little Bunny Frou Frou. I like the idea of the mouse taking literally what the boy is singing for himself.
I really these books as a kid, and like with a lot of kids books I revisit as an adult, there’s a lot less there there than I recall from my earliest experiences with it. Obviously this is no surprise, but it still gets me of course. The lessons contained in this book are basically that you have to advocate for yourself, protect yourself from those who seek to do you harm, and watch out for yourself.
Avoid kittens of course at all cost.
I get that the mouse doesn’t like kittens, but it’s funny to me how different cats and kittens are to our world from not even that long ago in the cultural ethos.