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Best adaptations of a children's book to film!

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Barbara Eveleth

Yes. Both Matilda book and movie were done quite well.
#31 - March 31, 2009, 03:00 PM


My personal favorite hands-down is the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Much as I love Johnny Depp and Tim Burton, I have still not been able to bring myself to see the new version. Same thing with the old (animated) and new (live-action) versions of Charlotte's Web.

Another one that I absolutely love is The Iron Giant. I saw it for the first time one day when I was keeping my sick nephew company (which turned into him sleeping and me watching TV by myself). By the end, I was bawling - I'm talking big, heaving sobs - and my dad came in and was like, "What's wrong?!" and I could only point wordlessly at the TV, which, once he got through being relieved, made him roll his eyes at me. But... just... guh. So good.

I also really liked the 90s versions of The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, even if they TOTALLY changed the ending of the latter.

On the flip side, the adaptation of Ella Enchanted positively broke my heart. There were ninjas, people. And normally, I'm a fan of ninjas, but non in pseudo-medieval France! And don't even get me started on the talking snake... Not everything needs to be Shrek-ified.
#32 - March 31, 2009, 03:46 PM

Martha Flynn

I loved me some Neverending Story back in the 80's.  According to my parents, I loved it every day, two or three times a day, for several months.  Even though technically the movie only covers the first portion of the book. :shh  It counts, right?

You know redheadedali - it struck me as odd that ninjas showed up in Ella Enchanted - but you're right - that is bizarre!!!
#33 - March 31, 2009, 04:28 PM

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The Princess Bride!
#34 - April 02, 2009, 10:12 PM

On the flip side, the adaptation of Ella Enchanted positively broke my heart.

Absolutely. I like Anne Hathaway, but this adaptation made this charming story a silly, idiotic mess!

Since it hasn't been mentioned, Tuck Everlasting (with Sissy Spacek, William Hurt, and Ben Kingsley) was done very well. Although the lead, Winnie, was older than portrayed in the book, you felt that everyone involved in the movie had read the book and was honoring it. It is an excellent model of how to turn a book into a movie!

#35 - April 03, 2009, 10:37 AM

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Both of these are pretty old, but Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (movie title was The Secret of NIMH) and The Last Unicorn.

I'm not sure if you'd consider it a children's book or not, but I read The Lord of The Rings in grade 7. I thought the movies were really well done.
#36 - April 04, 2009, 11:49 AM
THIS LITTLE PIGGY (AN OWNER'S MANUAL), Aladdin PIX June 2017 :pigsnort
KUNG POW CHICKEN 1-4, Scholastic 2014 :chicken


I loved Holes and Danny deVito's Matilda too. A lot of Brits I knew were suspicious about an American version of Matilda, but they agreed that it was perfect -- the parents were just fantastic and Matilda was exactly the way she should have been. And I thought that the movie version of Babe was almost better than the book.
#37 - April 04, 2009, 11:56 AM

My favorites are Matilda, Princess Bride and Holes. Shoot me if you want but I think the new Charlie and The Chocolate Factory was great. I really enjoyed it and so did my kids. And that's coming from someone who adored the original. But I guess it helped that Charlie in the Gene Wilder version always annoyed the heck out of me. I don't know - something about his face. Made me want to smack him all the time. The new Charlie is an excellent actor with great facial expressions. And I just love Johnny Depp. I want to marry him.

#38 - April 04, 2009, 12:00 PM
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Martha Flynn

Both of these are pretty old, but Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (movie title was The Secret of NIMH) and The Last Unicorn.


You just smacked me in the face with my childhood.   :king
#39 - April 04, 2009, 01:09 PM


Loved THE NEVERENDING STORY and THE LAST UNICORN (movies) when I was a kid, and still love them.  I didn't read either book until adulthood, but I loved them both as books, too.

THE NEVERENDING STORY is such a different movie from the book, but they both work for me, maybe because the movie is very different.  The book is so ... German.  Its dark, swirling eddies make my head swim in a way the movie doesn't/can't.

(As for THE LAST UNICORN, I'm not sure why it's considered for kids.  The book wasn't, and the movie, though animated, doesn't strike me as kiddish, either.  I was obsessed with it as a child, but when I watched it years later with my niece, I kept wondering if it would engage her.)

I'm another one who thought HOLES was a great movie adaptation of a great book.  I liked the earlier Harry Potter films way better than the later ones (and loved every single book).

And now all I can think about is all the film adaptations that didn't work for me (A WRINKLE IN TIME as a television movie comes painfully to mind) and all the film adaptations I'd like to see (have there been any John Bellairs movies?).
#40 - April 04, 2009, 01:31 PM

I'd have to say "The Secret Garden" too.  LOVE that movie!

ANd I didn't know that "Danny, Champion of the World" was made into a film.  I have got to get my  hands on that. That is one of my all time favourite books!

#41 - April 04, 2009, 02:02 PM
HANNAH & THE SPINDLE WHORL  (Ronsdale, 2010)
HANNAH & THE SALISH SEA (Ronsdale, 2013)


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