Before the film came out, on my little girl's 5th birthday, we read the book together. I had actually bought the book when I was dating my wife. Children do not see it as scary as adults see it. In fact, they see it as a wonderful adventure, where it gives some adults nightmares. I think the quote at the beginning of the book, describes it the best; "It's not that we teach children that dragons are real, but we teach them dragons can be defeated."