How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Official Storybook App)

App review by
Amanda Bindel, Common Sense Media
How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Official Storybook App) App Poster Image
Complex plot is tricky for a picture book; games are fun.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Story navigation requires kids to hit the arrow to advance to the next page. The game instructions are clear, and the controls are easy to maneuver.

Violence & Scariness

The plot includes several kidnappings and captures of both people and dragons and descriptions of dragons breathing fire. Intense fighting scenes lead to the death of one good-guy creature.

Sexy Stuff

The main character's girlfriend is introduced with possessive, sexist language: "He had also scored the girlfriend of his dreams."

Language

One character exclaims "Soil my britches!" in surprise.

Consumerism

The storybook and games are movie tie-ins. A link to other apps by the developer is included on the home page and requires entering an adult's birth year to access.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Official Storybook App) adapts the movie into a storybook featuring screenshots from the movie as well as two games and a coloring activity. The plot is complex, with multiple important characters, and is tricky to follow in the abbreviated format. The main character's mother, whom he believed was dead but actually had left him when he was a baby so she could live with the dragons she loved, returns. A creature on the "good" side dies in battle, and the dragon babies, who just won't listen to anybody, save the day. One of the games, Dragon Hunters, involves dragons defeating the hunters while avoiding the sheep. The hunters are hit with a blast of light and then fall. 

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What's it about?

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2 (OFFICIAL STORYBOOK APP) includes the story, read aloud with screenshots from the movie, two games, and a coloring activity. In Dragon Hunters, players are the dragon and must tap the hunters while avoiding the sheep. In Dragon Racing, kids choose their dragon and maneuver to fly through the air, avoiding obstacles and collecting prizes, in a race with other dragons. The coloring activity features several pictures of characters from the film and six art tools plus stickers to decorate the pages.

Is it any good?

It's best to look at How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Official Storybook App) in two parts: the story and the game. The games are excellent, giving kids options to choose their level of challenge, to pick their racing dragon, to increase the challenge, and to change the scenes as kids play. The story, though, is more iffy, because the big ideas and conflicts involved can't be fully developed in the short format of the storybook app. Kids who already know the movie would appreciate the book more. The coloring pages are comparable to other coloring apps but are probably out of sync for the age of kids who'd be interested in the story and games. Younger siblings may be drawn to the coloring pages whereas older kids would enjoy the games more.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the complex relationships among the characters more in depth. How do you think Hiccup felt about his mother leaving him to be with the dragons? Contrast that to Hiccup's declaration to his dragon that he wouldn't leave him. 

  • The dragon babies didn't listen to anyone, and that turned out to be helpful. Are there times that not listening or obeying orders is a good idea? What are times when it is important?

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