I'm sort of an expert on the movie How to Train Your Dragon, because my daughter is COMPLETELY obessed with it.
When I found out it was a book series I rushed over to amazon and ordered their first book.
Here's where the movie and the book are going to duke it out.
Book: How To Train Your Dragon.
Age group: older elementary, middle grade
Characters: Hiccup, (age 10) Fishlegs, (10) Snoutlout, (10) Toothless (a yearish) and others.
Conflict: Vikings have been flying dragons for generations. Dragons are much smaller in the book than in the movie and only listen to vikings because they feed the dragons. In order to be a man in the village, a young boy must steal a dragon from a cave and train the dragon. If he can not train his dragon by Thor's Day then he is kicked out of the tribe.
The main piece of advice given on how to train your dragon is to yell at it.
Hiccup is small and knows yelling at the dragon won't work, and since he can speak Dragonese (he is the only one in the tribe who can).
Hiccup picks the smallest dragon who is also sort of a jerk and never listens to him.
Problems only get worse when a giant sea dragon shows up and refuses to leave. The vikings are SHOCKED that yelling at, it didn't work.
It was cute, fun, a super fast read, The pace was perfect, the characters felt alive and the cute little drawings through out added a lot to the story. My favorite part was the book includes the How To Train Your Dragon book (a book with the book) it takes up 5 pages of the 200 page novel, and it's possibly the funniest part of the whole book.
How to Train Your Dragon: the Movie
Age group: family
Characters: Hiccup (16) Astrid (16) Toothless (unknown)
Conflicts: Dragons and Vikings are at war. In order to be a man in the village you have to kill a dragon. Hiccup shoots down the rarest of all dragons but is unable to kill it. He is sent into dragon killing training with the rest of the teens in the tribe. He also trains Toothless and uses the skills he has learned to succeed in battle arena without harming any of the dragons.
I loved the visuals of the movie, (it really comes through on the Blu Ray). I love how the movie sets up the conflict INSTANTLY and every shot is there for a very focused reason. I'm sort of a dork for the techy aspects of the movie. But mostly I love how high the stakes are for Hiccup. Toothless is completely different, for one he doesn't speak and he's more cat like then dragon.
Changes from the book to movie
The book has a grandfather figure and NO love interest.
The dragons and their conflicts are different too.
They are too different to compare.
I loved both of them and both were entertaining and heartfelt.
Although the book was funnier.