What To Read After... How To Train Your Dragon
Published on: 15 October 2017 Author: Emily Drabble
Is your child hooked on Cressida Cowell's How To Train Your Dragon books? Have they devoured them multiple times? Here are some ideas about where they could turn next...
'What can they read after...?' It's the question we get asked more than any other. How can a child who has got hooked on reading one book, series or author find the right thing to read next (and not lose the passion for reading in the process)?
Every month we are going to look at a popular series or author that has so totally captivated young readers and make some considered suggestions on what they could enjoy next. And we're going to take your suggestions, too!
This month it's Cressida Cowell's How To Train Your Dragon, which has sold over seven million copies.
A knee-jerk reaction for fans of How To Train Your Dragon might be to suggest more books with dragons. For the dragon-obsessed child this might work.
But other children may find these new dragons slightly less interesting than Toothless (and how come the new dragon doesn't speak Dragonese?) We have to remember that children didn't only read the series simply because there were dragons in it!
To start things off, we have some suggestions
For the illustration lovers: Few fans of How To Train Your Dragon will be disappointed by the first instalment in Cressida Cowell's brilliant new series The Wizards of Once - especially perfect for younger fans of Hiccup. The Wizards of Once got a lot of love from you, too - it was backed on Twitter by @Readitdaddy, @biles_sarah, @LisaMcLachlan ('My seven-year-old adored it!') and @beckhamcottage, who revealed: 'I've heard from a discerning young borrower that Cressida Cowell's latest - The Wizards of Once - is even better than HTTYD!' High praise indeed...
For a challenging read in a fantasy world (for 12+): Try Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea quartet - it provides the sense of light-touch philosophical meaning and mystery in a beautiful fantasy world, and also features likeable, interesting boy and girl protagonists. This was also a popular choice online, with @brookeseduclibs pointing out that there is now a fifth book, The Other Wind: '[It] is very dragon-y, as is 'Dragonfly' in Tales From Earthsea!'
Author SF Said was also backing the Earthsea books, saying: 'How about Ursula Le Guin's A Wizard of Earthsea? There are some fantastic dragons in that - and it's one of my all-time favourite books! Le Guin remains such a source of inspiration - every time I re-read Earthsea, it just gets better and better!'
For a fantasy world for younger readers (10+): Try the Shadow Magic trilogy by Joshua Khan, which brings a more gothic spin to its fast-moving fantasy world.
For a great quest: Try Joseph's Delaney's read-it-if-you-dare The Spook's Apprentice. Like How To Train Your Dragon, it draws on legend and lore to create a richly imagined world in which knowledge, learning and courage are key. Thanks to children's librarian Jake Hope for this suggestion!
For Dragons (okay... sometimes it is about the dragons): Try Cornelia Funke's Dragon Rider which tells the powerful story of a dragon called Firedrake - this was also backed by @themoonkestrel, @charlotteraby, @ShinraAlpha and @KS2librarySOS on Twitter. And if you want to combine a love of dragons with a love of drawing, we had a great idea from @JAngelTweeter: 'Sorry guys, you're asking an art teacher! I recommend How To Draw a Dragon by Douglas Florian - read and draw, happy days.'
You had absolutely heaps of brilliant recommendations for us when we asked you on Twitter what you would suggest - below are just a few.
Mold and the Poison Plot - Lorraine Gregory
School librarian and book blogger @bookloverJo put forward this suggestion online, saying: 'I'm a huge fan of the How To Train A Dragon series - Cressida has created a completely believable world of magic and dragons that is wonderfully engaging. All of the details feel genuine and authentic - it's not an actual story but in fact she is allowing us a glimpse into a forgotten world. Filled with heart and humour and brimming with heart-stopping adventure you can't help but fall in love with Hiccup and his friends.
'In Mold and the Poison Plot, Lorraine has created this truly believable world of magic and mayhem in Pellegarno. It is magical realism at it's very best, making you feel totally involved in the story as you're transported into the heart of this new land. An exciting and vibrant story filled with twists, turns and drama at every turn. Just when you think you know what is going to happen next, Lorraine manages to surprise you with this remarkable plot. It is an absolute joy to read, filled with so much humour, bravery and heart, that you can't help being enchanted by this magical tale.'
The Mortal Engines series - Philip Reeve
This was another popular choice online, backed by @Alex_Bevan (and his son!) and also @brookeseduclibs, who described it as: 'Quest/survival set in very different but compelling fantasy universe with strong boy and girl protagonists.'
The Darkmouth books - Shane Hegarty
This suggestion came from @ShinraAlpha, who explained: 'The Darkmouth books by Shane Hegarty are a definite way to go! Darkmouth has that ace combo of text and pictures - plus daring adventures, unspeakable monsters, and good laughs.'
Here are just some of the brilliant ideas we had from you on Twitter:
- The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell ('Absolutely amazing!' says @pushkasmarbles)
- The Something Wickedly Weird series by Chris Mould got a recommendation from @cdfbooksnappers
- As well as backing Dragon Rider, @KS2librarySOS suggested Chris D'Lacey's The Fire Within series.
- Writer and journalist @NicoletteJones had loads of great ideas if you're after "adventure stories with monsters" - try Eva Ibbotson's Island of the Aunts or Beasts of Clawstone Castle; the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage; the Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan (also backed by @Roboepicguy); The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (also proposed by @jo32cook); and Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans. That'll keep you going for a while...
- Garth Jennings' The Deadly 7 was suggested by @ImogenRW, who described it as a 'quest to rescue sister complete with monsters who are the seven deadly sins!' Even better? Garth got in touch with Imogen to promise that book two is on the way...
- @alysdragon has a five-year-old "megafan" of the How To Train Your Dragon books and suggested Neil Gaiman's Fortunately, the Milk and Dick King Smith's Sir Tumbleweed.
- The Deltora Quest series by Emily Rodda is a great idea for 'fans of a good quest', says @vonprice, who added: 'From family experience, they are great for dyslexic readers - pacy, short chapters!'
- Our current Writer in Residence Taran Matharu was suggested by @DrVictoriaJames, who thinks his The Summoner series is perfect for HTTYD fans.
- You've heard of The Hunger Games... but have you heard of Suzanne Collins' Gregor the Overlander series? That was proposed by @Orlandocreature.
- @BooksatBackwell had two brilliant ideas for you - Chris D'Lacey's Erth Dragons series and Christopher Paolini's Eragon ('always on loan in my library!')
- Looking for an author to fall in love with? @redskyatnight kept it pretty simple: 'Pretty much anything by Diana Wynne Jones.'
- Over on Facebook, Alice Victoria proposed the Lily Quench books by Natalie Jane Prior.
- 'Full of magic, mystery and a dragon.' That sounds like it might appeal to How To Train Your Dragon fans, so give @FarehamLibrary's suggestion Dragon's Green by Scarlett Thomas a go.
- @BookAddictdGirl had two ideas for us - The Huntress trilogy by Sarah Driver ('a great series') and The Last Namsara for older dragon lovers.
- The best recommendations, of course, come from children, so @McSunset suggested The Shapeshifter by Ali Sparkes and explained: 'My 9-year-old loved the series. Recommended by his 12-year-old cousin, who also loved them.'
And Cressida Cowell's suggestions...
We had to give the last word to How To Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell herself! She ought to know which books will appeal to Dragon fans, so you might want to seek out Diana Wynne Jones's The Ogre Downstairs and The Power of Three; Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson books; A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle; and The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander...
Stay tuned for more from What To Read After...