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Best adaptations of a children's book to film!

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In contrast to the other thread, what are some of the BEST adaptations you've seen of children's books to film?

For me, I have to start with Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea.  I simply ADORE those movies. 

#1 - March 26, 2008, 05:44 AM

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Holes.  A great film and a faithful adaptation of a great book.
#2 - March 26, 2008, 06:05 AM

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I will totally agree with you on Anne of Green Gables! Awesome adaptation!

I also loved Prisoner of Azkaban (hit the emotional heart of the story, whereas the first two completely missed it, IMO). I know you disagree.

Wasn't Babe originally a book? I haven't read it, but the movie was lovely!
#3 - March 26, 2008, 06:06 AM


Holes.  A great film and a faithful adaptation of a great book.

Oh, yes.  I totally agree.
#4 - March 26, 2008, 06:08 AM


I agree with Holes too! One of my favorites. I'm seeing Nim's Island tomorrow... I'll let you know what I think.
#5 - March 26, 2008, 06:17 AM


I thought Holes was pretty good, too.  It's been a long time since I've read PICTURES OF HOLLIS WOODS, but I thought the Hallmark presentation back in December was decent (if not excellent). :)
#6 - March 26, 2008, 06:49 AM


Oh, the recent film version of A Bridge to Terabithia was really well done.  I have a few nits about it...but all in all, it really packed an emotional punch, true to the book. 
#7 - March 26, 2008, 06:53 AM


I really liked A Little Princess from the mid 90's.
#8 - March 26, 2008, 07:05 AM


I really liked A Little Princess from the mid 90's.

Me too!

I'm also one of those very few die-hard Harry Potter fans who actually likes the movies. Sure, they are completely different from the books most of the time, and some of my favorite parts are cut out (ex. Weasley is our King!), but I take them for what they're supposed to be: entertaining movies.

And you know what? They are kind of entertaining :)
#9 - March 26, 2008, 08:05 AM


I like the HP films too, but I always have to see them twice: once to go 'hunh-what-hey!' as I watch what gets cut and what gets added while comparing them to the book, the second time to simply enjoy the films as films.
#10 - March 26, 2008, 08:12 AM


Wizard of Oz.

It's goofy, it's dated.  I love it.  Apparently there was an incident when I was 3 or 4 years old - it was over Christmas holidays, and Wizard of Oz was on tv.  I'm told I sat there transfixed, and when Dorothy started saying "There's no place like home," I cried and cried, could not be consoled.  I still have a massive crush on Ray Bolger.

#11 - March 26, 2008, 08:14 AM


I'm also one of those very few die-hard Harry Potter fans who actually likes the movies. Sure, they are completely different from the books most of the time, and some of my favorite parts are cut out (ex. Weasley is our King!)

Mercedes, you have no idea how crushed my daughter and I were when we realized we'll never learn how to properly sing "Weasley is our King." I'm glad I found someone who shares our pain.

But actually, I thought the Order of the Phoenix movie was better than the book.
#12 - March 26, 2008, 09:07 AM

Amen on Order to Phoenix being better. My favorite HP movie by far.
I'm gonna go with Holes, too. L-O-V-E-D the book, and I didn't have to do a whole comparison for hubby between movie and book. It was all there, and all mahvelous
#13 - March 26, 2008, 10:33 AM
SEAN GRISWOLD'S HEAD (Bloomsbury, March 2011)
THE ROYAL TREATMENT (Hyperion, May 2011)

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Also loved Holes.

I'll add The Secret Garden. I love that movie, the beauty of that garden gives me chills every time.

The movie Matilda is wildly different from the Dahl book, but it was still the inspiration for my current novel--all hyperbole and the crazy impossible happy ending.
#14 - March 26, 2008, 09:46 PM
Author of MG/YA


My vote will always go to Danny, the Champion of the World--the made-for-TV version with Jeremy Irons as the father and his own son, Sam, as Danny.  Beautifully done and absolutely captures the spirit of the book, in my opinion.  I still have the copy I taped from TV (on wobbly VHS).  If someone sees it on DVD, please let me know!
#15 - March 27, 2008, 03:10 AM

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I loved the PBS version of A Little Princess and also the Shirley Temple version (even though the ST version wasn't as true to the book - what's not to like about Shirley Temple?)
#16 - March 27, 2008, 03:36 AM
« Last Edit: March 27, 2008, 04:33 AM by Juliarts2003 »
XVI, Puffin/Speak, available now
Truth, Puffin/Speak, January 2012

I concur wholeheartedly with all the Holes mentions. Loved the book, loved the movie (and should I be worried that I a little bit love Shia LaBeouf?)
#17 - April 01, 2008, 04:22 PM
I'm looking for a dare-to-be-great situation.


I also love Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea, and I consider them two of the best film adaptations of children's books. It is kind of funny that I am saying this because in the other thread I listed Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (the third movie) as one of the worst adaptations of a children's book to film. I just read that Kevin Sullivan has filmed a fourth movie, Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning. It is supposed to be a prequel to the series, scheduled to come out this year. Another movie I enjoyed was the 1986 PBS version of The Little Princess. This thread has gotten me into the mood to watch Anne of Green Gables! I think I will put it in my DVD player right now.
#18 - April 01, 2008, 09:18 PM

I seem to have fond memories of Butch (Eddie Munster) Patrick in "The Phantom Tollbooth."  It seemed to follow the book pretty closely, if I remember correctly--it's been almost forty years, but...
#19 - April 01, 2008, 10:45 PM


Was "Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story" even really a book adaptation?  I got the impression it was really just an original script based loosely on the Anne of Green Gables characters.  It wasn't nearly up to par with the originals, I agree.  But there were certain things I liked about it, including some of the self-commentary within the film.  One of the subplots was Anne trying to write a story that boys would like to read as much as a woman with a female character.  She was told it couldn't be done.  Yet the entire MOVIE of "The Continuing Story" seemed to be just attempt to make a movie that boys would like despite being about about a girl.  The movie was almost trying to prove the point that it could be done.  Unfortunately, in doing so, it failed in that attempt, since the movie, as a whole, was fairly poorly executed.  Sure, the war aspect of it probably appealed to boys...but it alienated the original fan base. 

Oh, wait.  This is the wrong thread for this topic!
#20 - April 02, 2008, 08:12 AM


I thought Because of Winn Dixie was really well done. Very true to the voice of the character in the book.
#21 - April 02, 2008, 10:39 AM

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One movie I watched over and over again when I was younger was the BBC adaptation of THE LION, THE WITCH, AND THE WARDROBE. Aside from what now looks like horrendous special effects, it was fabulous. Edmund is an annoying brat like he should be, the white witch is gorgeous but terrifying, unlike Tilda Swinton in the newer one, and it's actually pretty scary. I love it.
#22 - May 12, 2008, 12:53 PM

Oh, the recent film version of A Bridge to Terabithia was really well done.  I have a few nits about it...but all in all, it really packed an emotional punch, true to the book. 

Well said.  I love love love this movie.  Winn-Dixie, too.  I didn't get to see the movie version of Hoot.  Anybody have an opinion on that one?

I also thought the newest HP movie was pretty good, too (Order of the Phoenix), although I cry when I watch it now that I know how Book Seven ends.  Still in HP withdrawal...

#23 - May 12, 2008, 02:43 PM

I love the Avolea series and the Anne adaptation with Megan Follows. Ditto for A Little Princess and Danny Champion of the World. Has anyone ever seen the British film Paperhouse? So good.
#24 - July 16, 2008, 03:47 PM
NARC / Flux

Barbara Eveleth

I also love Matilda (Angsty), James and the Giant Peach (Artful), Harriet the Spy (Awesome), and the British cartoon version of the Big Friendly Giant (Altho that book can't be imitated in any other medium, really).
#25 - September 17, 2008, 03:57 PM

Mike Jung

I enthusiastically add my name to the list for Holes, A Little Princess, Babe and James and the Giant Peach. Stellar examples of skillful adaptation and general moviemaking prowess. I'm also in the thumbs-up camp for Prisoner of Azkaban - Alfonse Cuaron is a prodigiously gifted filmmaker. A Little Princess and Azkaban are both films in which he very skillfully balanced darkness and light. I thought Cuaron made the most risky and unconventional creative decisions of any of the HP directors (at least so far), and struck gold on most of them, especially the color palette and the music. Sorcerer's Stone was very well done, extremely competent, but it was totally, predictably conventional, exactly what I would expect from Chris Columbus.
#26 - September 21, 2008, 08:20 PM

Mike Jung

I'd also like to cast a vote for Nanny McPhee. Emma Thompson is godlike and powerful.
#27 - September 21, 2008, 08:21 PM


Good adaptations (or film is better/equal)

Stuart Little (didn't care for the book)
Kikki's Delivery Service
Harry Potter
Charlotte's Web
Wizard of Oz
The Secret Garden
A Little Princess
The Iron Giant (Ted Hughes story)
Disney's Pinocchio

Decent adaptations

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
James and the Giant Peach
Horton Hears a Who
Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang

Bad adaptations (film is noticeably worse than the books)

A Series of Unfortunate Events
His dark materials
Howl's Moving Castle
Curious George
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Haven't seen (but read the books)

Tale of Despereaux
Because of Winn-Dixie
Tuck Everlasting
Anne of Green Gables
City of Ember
A Bridge to Terabithia
Polar Express
How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The Cat in the Hat
The Chronicles of Narnia
How to Eat Fried Worms
The Indian in the Cupboard
Harriet the Spy
The Stupids
#28 - March 30, 2009, 11:36 PM

Barbara Eveleth

See Harriet the Spy and get back to us.

(I love it ;))

Especially the cinematography and music
#29 - March 31, 2009, 03:46 AM
« Last Edit: March 31, 2009, 04:21 AM by AE »

Matilda was loads of fun.  Miss Trunchbull is the reincarnation of my 5th grade teacher.
#30 - March 31, 2009, 02:51 PM


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