A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Kenny & the Dragon is a sweet animal tale by Tony DiTerlizzi (who co-wrote Spiderwick Chronicles) based on the classic children's book "The Reluctant Dragon," by Kenneth Grahame (Wind in the Willows). In fact, DiTerlizzi honors that author by naming the dragon Grahame and the rabbit hero Kenny after him. Kenny befriends the peaceful, bookish Grahame, and when the townsfolk find out about him, they send the local bookseller, a badger and former knight, to slay him. But Kenny keeps them from fighting. So there's no violence. But adults smoke pipes and drink ale.
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What's the story?
In KENNY & THE DRAGON, book-loving rabbit Kenny meets a dragon named Grahame, who loves Shakespeare and creme brulee. This gentle dragon and Kenny soon become friends. Kenny's only other friend is George, an elderly badger who runs the local bookstore. When the townscritters discover that there's a dragon living nearby, they turn to George, a former knight, to slay it. Now Kenny must figure out a way to keep his two friends from fighting.
Is it any good?
This remake of a children's classic subs animal characters for humans to tell a gentle, lighthearted story. Tony DiTerlizzi both wrote and illustrated Kenny & the Dragon, and he includes many references to The Reluctant Dragon, on which it's based, including naming the main character Kenny, the dragon Grahame, and naming where they live, Shepard Hill, after the illustrator of The Reluctant Dragon, E.H. Shepard. He even works in a direct mention of the original book.
Standing on its own, this story is pleasant and enjoyable. But the original is still in print, in case families would like to compare.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the idea of remakes, such as Kenny & the Dragon. Why would an author want to retell an older story?
Why are books about dragons so popular? What others have you read?
What makes this story like a fairy tale? What are some of your favorite fairy tales? Why do they still have power after hundreds of years?
Our editors recommend
For kids who love fairy tales and classic books
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