The Gruffalo

Movie review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
The Gruffalo Movie Poster Image
Parents recommend
Favorite book adaptation promotes brains over brawn.
  • G
  • 2011
  • 40 minutes

Parents say

age 4+
Based on 42 reviews

Kids say

age 3+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

The story has some good lessons about standing up for yourself and using quick thinking to outwit an opponent.

Positive Messages

Kids see that, despite his size, the mouse is able to use quick thinking to outsmart the animals who want to eat him.

Positive Role Models & Representations

The mouse doesn't allow the animals to intimidate him because of his size, and he proves that brains can overcome brawn.

Violence & Scariness

Some mild peril, as the mouse encounters three animals and a monster that want to eat him. A few scenes show the mouse's visions of being eaten by the animals, and others show frogs swallowing flies and birds catching fish to eat.

Sexy Stuff

The show is based on the book of the same name.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Gruffalo is based on the acclaimed children's book of the same name, so kids might be encouraged to follow up with a reading session. A few scenes show Mouse envisioning being eaten by the animals he encounters, so very young kids might need an extra cuddle, but other than that, this is a wonderful special to enjoy with little ones.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 1 and 4-year-old Written byxiebob July 1, 2013

Too scary!

We tried this movie with our 4-year-old, but we didn't even watch the whole thing, because it was terrifying right from the beginning. The movie really emp... Continue reading
Adult Written bykendrastrand January 20, 2012

great film but suspense may be too much for some toddlers

lovely story and beautiful images, but our almost-three-year-old asked to stop the movie early on -- the scenes of the mouse in danger of being eaten by other a... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old May 23, 2021

Lovely heart warming tale about monster and mouse

This is a great film for young audiences has very mild peril that never goes anywhere a nose is almost eaten and many interpretations of a mouse getting cooked... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old November 7, 2020

So Cute!

I remember seeing it in kindergarten! It was good, but the Gruffalo may be a bit scary for younger viewers. Other than that it's really sweet and has a goo... Continue reading

What's the story?

On a stroll through the deep, dark wood, Mouse (voiced by James Corden) encounters three animals who think he looks like a tasty meal -- but he outwits each one by telling them that he's scheduled to meet THE GRUFFALO, an imaginary creature that Mouse describes as having large teeth, sharp claws, and a poisonous wart on his nose. Imagine Mouse's shock to discover that the Gruffalo (Robbie Coltrane) actually exists! When the Gruffalo then threatens to eat him, Mouse claims to be the fiercest creature around, offering to prove it if the monster will follow him back through the wood. As they encounter the three animals again, each is frightened by the sight of the Gruffalo, who interprets their fear as directed at Mouse and flees for his life.

Is it any good?

This enchanting adaptation is masterfully animated to reflect the book's original drawings and set to beautifully crafted music. It offers a great opportunity for parents to hit the couch with their kids and take in a truly wonderful story. Based on the award-winning children's book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, the show breathes life into these loved characters and teaches a lesson about not letting size intimidate you. The crafty mouse uses his smarts to escape the larger and more powerful animals, who fall for his tricks out of unfounded fear.

There are some perilous scenes when the mouse envisions his own death at the hands of the animals, but other than that, The Gruffalo is perfectly suited -- and very entertaining -- for kids of all ages.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the story in The Gruffalo. Do you think Mouse was scared when he met the animals who wanted to eat him? Did he show his fear? How did he outsmart them? Were you surprised that they fell for his trick? 

  • Kids: How does the show compare to the book? Did you like the animation style? Were the characters like you imagined them? What other books would you like to see made into TV shows or movies?

  • What are your family's rules about TV? Why do parents set time limits and monitor what shows you can watch? How do these rules keep you safe?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love literary fun with young kids

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate