Category Archives: Books

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon; A Hero’s Guide

Book Review: How to Train Your Dragon; A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons

This summer George and James are taking part in the Staffordshire Libraries Summer Reading Challenge.  If they can each get through six books they’ll receive stickers and a medal from the library, as well as completing their mythical reading challenge charts.

James’s first book got us off to a flying start. All three of us are fans of the breath-taking ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ films but I hadn’t realised that there was also a series of books. A Hero’s Guide to Deadly Dragons is the first one that we’ve come across and it was a big hit.

The imaginitive story follows the memoirs of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock the Third before he became the hero we know and love. As a young boy he struggles to make his mark, and in a Hero’s Guide, Hiccup is lost in the Library Labyrinth, in a time when books have been banned.


James (9) thorough enjoyed reading from cover to cover. George (6) had a lot of fun sounding out words that he knew, and marvelling at the illustrations. The loudest laughs probably came from me, especially when Stoick the Vast is drawn into the skirmish

At the end of the book is an enthralling guide to the dragon profiles, sword fighting and the world of the marauders,  to accompany the story and give even more depth to the charaters.

Other books in the serise include How To Speak Dragonese, and How to Twist a Dragon’s Tail.

Learn more about the Staffordshire Libraries Summer Reading Challenge here.

Minecraft Construction Handbook

Who doesn’t love Minecraft? I love Minecraft, and I have absolutely no idea what’s going on. When I ask James to explain to me what they have to do, he just laughs. Then when he realises I’m serious he scowls at me.

The handbooks are written and edited by Stephanie Milton and published by Egmont. They are much adored by James who tries to learn how to complete complex tasks that involve Portals, and Enderdragons, and Creepers ( and yes, I have no idea what these things are) . He follows the instructions to the letter and feels really impressed by the knowledge of the authors. He then tells me about his sucess or lack of in repeating these complex procedures, and repeats the process over again.

George who is stlil learning to read tackles long paragraphs with enthusiasm when he’s allowed to borrow his brother’s book. I find this a bit insulting as he normally refuses to read more than a few words about Biff Chip and Kipper. He’s also a much more visual person than me and James and so he’s just as keen on the screen shots.

I was initially put off by the RRP of these books. £7.99 for what is a very slim book didn’t seem like great value. I managed to find them reduced to £4.99 at Asda, but I can see that Amazon now has them at £3.99.

The boys have the entire set of three books, ‘combat’, ‘construction’, and ‘red stone’ and all three are very popular. Whilst they can be read cover to cover in less than five minutes, they are constatnly picked up again for reference while the game is being played. They are also a great source of reference when school friends make amazing claims about tasks that they’ve carried out.

Now would somebody please be kind enough to tell me what you have to do in this game?