I read this book aloud to my almost 5 year old son a chapter at a time and we both enjoyed it. My son got nervous at some parts - he gets worried when...moreI read this book aloud to my almost 5 year old son a chapter at a time and we both enjoyed it. My son got nervous at some parts - he gets worried when reading about bad guys and Sir Kato in the book is very very bad - but he did want to keep on reading and says he "really liked it". There were dark parts, and discussion of death and evil, but nothing worse than is in a typical folktale or the Wizard of Oz. I really liked how Mio and his friend Pompoo were portrayed as scared and nervous, but also very loyal to each other. It was a sweet relationship between the two boys and they weren't the typical hero figures. The only other caveat for parents reading this to children is that Mio was an orphan at the beginning and was adopted by a mean couple, which is a tired stereotype that comes up in too many books and movies.
I have fond memories of the movie about this book from when I was a child, and the silly Abba song. I'll have to watch it with my kids even though it will probably seem very corny to me now.(less)