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How to Be a Hero

Written by Cat Weldon

Illustrated by Katie Kear

Part of the How to Be a Hero Series

Adventure Stories Debuts of the Month Fantasy / Magical Featured Books for 7+ readers Featured Books for 9+ readers Historical Fiction Humorous

LoveReading View on How to Be a Hero

Madcap mythology-rich Norse adventure about the hardships of heroism

Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids

High-stakes hilarity abounds in this comic quest featuring Norse gods and a calamity-struck Valkyrie-in-training. The first in a fun and thrilling series from debut author Cat Weldon, How to Be a Hero will have huge appeal for younger readers who enjoyed Vulgar the Viking and fans of Who Let the Gods Out.


Despite only arriving in the village a few days ago, Whetstone has already wheedled his way into the Great Hall of Krud. OK, he might only have a job in the kitchens right now, but his sights are set on bigger things. Meanwhile, “far above Whetstone and the Vikings of Krud,” a girl called Lotta is struggling to get to grips with her Valkyrie training, and the pressure is well and truly on, for today is the day she’s due to collect fallen warriors from Midgard. When Lotta encounters an unconscious Viking thief (none other than Whetstone) and takes him for a fallen hero before taking him to Valhalla, a whole lot of trouble is unleashed. Trouble involving a talking cup with a penchant for poetry (“Well, don’t ask me,’ sighed the cup. ‘I’m only a magical talking cup. I can’t see anyone around here who might appreciate my poems”), a yellow-eyed dragon, and none other than Loki the trickster God himself. GADZOOKS!


Exhilaratingly evoked by Katie Kear’s illustrations, this is fast-paced, funny and spiced with ingenious insults, among them “toxic turnip breath” and “barnacle breath”. It also integrates tonnes of fascinating information about Norse mythology, with an excellent Author’s Note providing extra context.

Joanne Owen

Other Info

Fully illustrated throughout, Cat Weldon's How to Be a Hero is also perfect for ages 7-10 in line with the Key Stage 2 curriculum.

How to Be a Hero Synopsis

A no-good viking thief. The worst-ever trainee valkyrie. An ungodly case of mistaken identity.

When failing trainee valkyrie Lotta mistakes an unconscious viking thief, Whetstone, for a fallen hero and takes him triumphantly to Valhalla, things are definitely not turning out to be epic or glorious. Having lost a precious talking cup, Whetstone is also desperate to cover up his mistake and the two embark on a quarrelsome journey to find it and regain their heroic status. But Loki the trickster God is desperate to get his hands on the cup with a plan to unleash chaos across the nine worlds. Can Whetstone prove himself a hero after all when it matters most? 

The first in a hilarious and fast-paced trilogy about how to be brave, what it means to be a hero and just how confusing the Norse Gods really are. Fully illustrated throughout, Cat Weldon's How to Be a Hero is perfect for fans of How to Train Your Dragon and Who Let the Gods Out.

How to Be a Hero Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

This book is full of myth, fantasy and adventure. I found it so gripping, as soon as I got home from school, I wanted to pick the story up again! Full review

Lucas Blake (Age 10)

The story was full of adventure and funny! Full review

Amatullah Khatun (Age 11)

A rollicking, madcap, action-packed adventure! Full review

Fern Tolley

One of the best adventure-packed stories I have ever read! From dragons to cups - this book has everything. Full review

Alex Urban (Age 8)

How to Be a Hero Press Reviews

I love this, it is genuinely funny and thrilling - Amanda Craig

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781529045031
Publication date: 21/01/2021
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781529045031
Publication date: 21st January 2021
Author: Cat Weldon
Illustrator: Katie Kear
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books an imprint of Pan Macmillan
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 256 pages
Suitable for: 7+ readers, 9+ readers
Genres: Adventure Stories, Fantasy / Magical, Historical Fiction, Humorous
Recommendations: Debuts of the Month
Collections: 2021 Preview - Mega Books on the Horizon,

About Cat Weldon

Cat Weldon writes funny middle grade fantasy stories with a particular interest in offbeat fairy tales and world mythology. With a Master's degree in Scriptwriting and a background in children's theatre, Cat now splits her time between writing, teaching and making origami squirrels. Cat lives in East Anglia with her husband, two children and collection of delinquent chickens. How to Be a Hero is her first novel.

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