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Jane and the Dragon: A Dragon's Tale Review by Maggi Beardsley

Shout! Factory
Pacific Press Publishing Association
2042-A Armacost Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90025
(310) 979-5602

Jane and the Dragon: A Dragon’s Tale is a 3-D computer animated DVD of medieval adventures for children.  There are five episodes on this DVD.  The press release for the DVD describes the first segment on the DVD:  “In the 9th-Century English colony kingdom of Kippernium, adolescent girls are typically raised to be Ladies-in-Waiting.  But Jane isn’t exactly the kingdom’s typical 12-year-old girl.  No, she has much higher aspirations-life as a brave knight!”  The first episode is about Jane and her best friend, Dragon, as Jane tries to become a knight.   It is filled with lots of action and no violence.  The DVD is based on Martin Baynton’s storybooks.  There are many opportunities to connect the stories with your children.  In the first episode alone we were able to discuss manners, friendship, career aspirations.  Jane tries to right the wrongs in her world during her knight’s apprenticeship.  She does it with great respect.  The DVD has English and Spanish tracks.  We were also able to find the adventure on our local Spanish television station.

This DVD was a crowd pleaser at our house.  My son loved the animation and the story line.  He also liked the setting, medieval England.  My daughters loved following Jane.  This isn’t a DVD that would go along with a historical unit study but it is clean family entertainment.    Our preschooler could follow along, but the DVD was made for elementary and junior high students.  If you had an artist in the house I can see how Jane and the Dragon: A Dragon’s Tale could be used as a study of animated art.  There is a website, too, that goes into more detail about the animation of the DVD.  There are coloring pages on the DVD that can be printed out.

The computer animation is superb.  The art of the DVD is beautifully pleasing.  The production was excellent. There is a lot of humor in the DVD.  My family liked the action too.  It was great to know that our family could enjoy a fun, action-filled movie together where everyone enjoyed a part.  I didn’t have to modify the story lines or fast forward over inappropriate language.  It was a great reward after a long school day.
My biggest complaint is that the children loved the first episode so much that they howled when I told them that we had to save the next episode for another day.  This is an extra-curricular DVD, and therefore home schoolers who are spending the year very focused on academics might not see the need to add this DVD to their schedule. Also, Jane doesn’t take the traditional, expected role of a young lady in her era so families that would like to encourage traditional roles for young ladies might not choose to watch this DVD.  We have some who believe in the Tooth Fairy at our house and we skipped the episode that suggested that the Tooth Fairy was not real.

We thoroughly enjoyed Jane and the Dragon: A Dragon’s Tale.  Well done Shout! Factory.  This was a great family DVD.

Product review by Maggi Beardsley, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, September 2008