School of Magical Animals
By Tom Cassidy,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
German book adaptation is fun for kids too young for Potter.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Kids can learn about tracking animals by their footprints. Kids may also be inspired to seek out the books the movie is based on.
Characters display strong teamwork and friendship. Young people speak openly about their feelings and work out problems together, showing kindness and understanding. Perseverance is shown as characters try to solve the mystery of the school super thief.
Positive Role Models
Ida moves to a new town and a new school. She feels lonely and dreams of having a friend. She is strong-willed, stands up for herself and others, sees the best in people, and tells her new friends how important they are to her. Ida's mom is supportive and encouraging. She is friendly and warm to Ida and listens to her problems. Benni is a clumsy lonely boy in Ida's class. The two become friends when they are both assigned magical animals. His animal (Henrietta) encourages him to express his feelings and share his problems. Talking fox Rabaat is cheerful and enthusiastic. At one point he feels jealous. He is principled, suggesting Ida should help her friend in need. Miss Cornfield is their new teacher. She is eccentric, honest with her pupils, and in charge of magical animals. Jo is the class cool kid who helps Ida out of trouble. He hides a secret, caused by trouble with his parents. He admits he's done wrong and apologizes. Jo's father is stubborn, argumentative, and cruel about other kids. He eventually admits he was wrong and listens to Jo.
The cast is mostly White. A Scottish teacher has an American accent in the English dubbed version. Two bilingual pupils speak Turkish and English. Girls are shown playing soccer rather than just the boys. There is a (non mean-spirited) joke about two characters having red hair.
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Violence & Scariness
A magical fox in teddy bear form almost has its leg cut off. Some teasing at school. A kid reads from a book about pirates and mentions that they murder and steal. Mild threat when two characters hang from a broken gutter high on a roof.
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Infrequent language in the English dubbed version includes "loser," "jerk," "peabrain," "for God's sake," and a barely audible "bullcrap."
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Products & Purchases
A kid reads a Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles comic. Brief reference to Hogwarts from the Harry Potter franchise.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that School of Magical Animals is an entertaining German fantasy adventure -- based on a series of books -- with plenty of positive messages and a focus on friendship. Young girl Ida (Emilia Maier) moves to a new school and initially faces some teasing. She makes friends with lonely boy Benni (Leonard Conrads) before the two are both assigned a magical animal. The animals (which include a talking fox, tortoise, and magpie) are cheerful and charming, and help teach lessons in friendship, perseverance, and the importance of sharing feelings. In the dubbed English version, language includes infrequent mild words such as "loser" and "jerk." Henrietta the tortoise says "bullcrap," but it isn't clear to hear so may be missed by most. Mild peril comes when two characters are left hanging from a loose guttering high up on a building, but no harm comes to them.
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School of Magical Animals
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What's the Story?
In SCHOOL OF MAGICAL ANIMALS, Ida (Emilia Maier) moves to a new school and is assigned a magical talking fox. Lonely Benni (Leonard Conrads) is also given an animal and the pair team up to solve the mystery of the school super-thief.
Is It Any Good?
Early in this family-friendly German fantasy adventure, a character mentions Hogwarts, making the Harry Potter comparison so the viewer doesn't have to. But despite also being based on a series of popular books, School of Magical Animals does its own thing, and does it well. A cheerful and fun adventure for younger kids, the film keeps its focus tight and succeeds at everything it needs to. Its talking magical animals are all charming. While the adventure and mystery is exciting but low stakes enough to be suitable for the target audience. Most importantly, the characters all come across well and learn valuable lessons. Ida and Benni are both great young role models, and even kids who were at first mean are given the chance to show their true kindness. Brimming with positive feeling, this is a fun-packed movie that perfectly fits that pre-Potter audience.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the friendships in School of Magical Animals. How did the characters' lives change once they had someone to share their feelings with? How do your own friendships compare? What makes a good friend?
How did some of the characters display good communication, gratitude, perseverance, and teamwork? Why are these so important? When have you shown these life skills in your own life?
What kind of magical animal would you like as a friend and why? What would you do with them?
The movie is based on a series of books. Have you seen any other movies based on books?
Did this movie remind you of any others you've seen? If so, what were they and what were the similarities?
- In theaters: March 24, 2023
- Cast: Emilia Maier, Leonard Conrads, Loris Sichrovsky
- Director: Gregor Schnitzler
- Studio: Blue Fox Entertainment
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Book Characters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models
- Character Strengths: Communication, Gratitude, Teamwork
- Run time: 93 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild language, peril and thematic elements
- Award: Common Sense Selection
- Last updated: April 4, 2023
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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