A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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."
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.
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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.
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.
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.