Hiccup the Seasick Viking

Cressida Cowell, Author, Cressida Cowell, Illustrator Orchard Books (NY) $15.95 (40p) ISBN 978-0-531-30278-1
Hiccup, a diminutive Viking boy, dreads rough stuff. His linebacker-size father, known as Stoick the Vast, cheerfully scoffs, ""Vikings don't get frightened."" Hiccup reluctantly joins a crew and, as the sea grows wilder, he turns green and gets seasick ""all over Stoick's feet."" However, the other sailors feel queasy, too. Their squiggly frowns betray their nausea, and they lean over the side of the bucking ship (with their backs politely to the reader). Hiccup sees that his peers get scared, ""but they get over it... That's what makes them so brave."" Cowell (Little Bo Peep's Library Book) describes Vikings as ""enormous, roaring thieves with bushy mustaches who sailed all over the world and took whatever they wanted."" She downplays the pillaging (which could compromise the heroism) and pictures Stoick as a broad-bellied, guffawing fellow with curling horns on his pointed helmet. In the loose watercolors, in which smiling sea creatures ride roiling waves, Hiccup is a gentler figure. His short red hair matches his father's scraggly beard, but his blue helmet has stumpy, blunt horns. Cowell gives practical advice about facing fears, with an all-too-human problem--throwing up--as the great equalizer. Ages 4-7. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/04/2000
Release date: 09/01/2000
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