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How to Twist a Dragon's Tale: The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III    by Cressida Cowell order for
How to Twist a Dragon's Tale
by Cressida Cowell
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

The Heroic Misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III (scrawny, sensitive, red-haired only son of Chief Stoick the Vast) continue their usual hilarity in this fifth in the series, How to Twist a Dragon's Tale.

It all begins with an August heat wave on the Isle of Berk, where Hiccup and his hyperactive hunting dragon Toothless are enrolled in the Hooligan Pirate Training Program along with eleven other 'spotty Viking preteens'. Gobber the Belch is holding a Herding-Reindeer-on-Dragonback lesson. After Hiccup notices that something has set fire to the nearby landscape and the woods catch on fire in front of the class, the herders become the herded ... 'Panther-like shapes crept through the flames'.

How will Hiccup get out of this cliffhanger of a crisis? Well, he has help from the Man on the White Dragon (who is very definitely not a Lava-Lout). Humongously Hotshot warns them of an impending incursion of about nine hundred thousand Exterminators, which immediately morphs Stoick into a Winston Churchill wannabe and makes him hire a Bardiguard for Hiccup - one who has ulterior motives and quite a tale to tell, starring Hiccup's very own arch-enemy.

Unfolding events send Hiccup - helped by his friends Fishlegs and Camicazi, his new Bardiguard, and Toothless - on a quest to right an old wrong and stop a volcano from exploding. It's the usual riotous tricky fun - interrupted by pauses to ask the interesting questions, 'Can you outrun an exploding Volcano?' and 'Is the Universe a good egg or a bad egg?' - not to be missed by Hiccup's legion of fans.

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