Kenny & the Dragon, Book 1

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Kenny & the Dragon, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Animals star in fun remake of "The Reluctant Dragon."

Parents say

age 5+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Stands out for positive messages.

Educational Value

Some sophisticated vocabulary ("drake," "varlet”) and references to the epic poem Beowulf. Families may want to compare this story with the classic story it's based on, "The Reluctant Dragon." 

Positive Messages

Don't prejudge someone: They might become your friend once you get to know them. 

Positive Role Models

Kenny, his parents, George, and the dragon are all goodhearted and kind, and willing to listen to a child.

Violence & Scariness

One fake fight.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Kenny & the Dragon is a sweet animal tale by Tony DiTerlizzi (who co-wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles) that's based on the classic children's story "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.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bycoraisabel November 23, 2018


Creative. The message and art inspires kids. I remember reading this when I was younger and loved it. The art inspired me and stayed without me throughout time... Continue reading
Parent of a 2 and 5-year-old Written byWackoRobie November 30, 2009
Kid, 9 years old May 2, 2012


I think it's an amazing book. You should try it!!!!!!!!
Kid, 9 years old February 17, 2011

good book

This book is a very good book with a good story i think it is for ages 9+ because people smoke pipes and drink ale.otherwise it is a good book

What's the story?

In KENNY & THE DRAGON, book-loving rabbit Kenny meets a dragon named Grahame, who loves Shakespeare and crème brûlée. 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 story.

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?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love fairy tales and classic books

Themes & Topics

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