The Gruffalo

  • Review Date: December 8, 2010
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 40 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Favorite book adaptation promotes brains over brawn.
  • Review Date: December 8, 2010
  • Rated: G
  • Genre: Family and Kids
  • Release Year: 2011
  • Running Time: 40 minutes





What parents need to know

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

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
Not applicable
Not applicable

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

Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this beautiful adaptation 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.

Parents say

Kids say

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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 a 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?


Masterfully animated to reflect the book's original drawings and set to beautifully crafted music, this enchanting adaptation is 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, it's perfectly suited -- and very entertaining -- for kids of all ages.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the story. 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

DVD release date:August 16, 2011
Cast:Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, Robbie Coltrane
Directors:Jakob Schuh, Max Lang
Studio:NCircle Entertainment
Genre:Family and Kids
Topics:Magic and fantasy, Book characters
Run time:40 minutes
MPAA rating:G

This review of The Gruffalo was written by

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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What parents and kids say

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Parent 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 animals, and also the baby squirrels watching their mother try to run back to the nest to escape the owl in the opening scene, were too intense for him.
Parent Written bypamomof4 December 29, 2011

Great movie!

Great movie with beautiful graphics and animation. Well done!
What other families should know
Great messages
Adult Written bydanielleb November 25, 2011


This movie was very appropriate and cute. My daughter got a little scared by each animal but at the end she was excited when the mouse triumphed. She retells this story to her family and friends and tells how the mouse scared away the bad snake and bad owl in the tree. When the Gruffalo was scary, we made light of it by dancing around and acting like Gruffalos. We enjoyed it.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


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