First book, then movie

bookfiend-etsyAs is always the case during school holidays, a bunch of new movies were released. This year, the main offerings were Pete’s Dragon, The Secret Life of Pets and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. My kids, being a little older, were plugging for Miss Peregrine, until I said “But have you read the book?” Cue massive eye-rolls from children (because I always say ‘first book, then movie’).

I miss lots of new-release movies because I haven’t read the book. In fact, my chief-movie-going-pal often gives me advance warning of movies she wants to see with a simple “Read the book now because the movie is out in a month.” Considerate friend!

Although I usually prefer the book to the movie, it’s not always the case, particularly when it comes to kids books/ movies. In some cases, films are PERFECT translations of the book, the characters and scenes unfolding just as you imagined. And sometimes a movie not only does a book justice but makes it better. Yes, really.

So here are the books that I think rocketed into awesomeness thanks to a fabulous film –

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl / Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory directed by Mel Stewart (1971) – the most-loved kids movie ever?

Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll / Alice in Wonderland directed by Tim Burton (2010) – no, I haven’t got that wrong. Most of Burton’s Alice in Wonderland was taken from Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. Burton’s more recent movie, Through the Looking Glass, was a mish-mash of various Carroll themes.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery / Anne of Green Gables directed by Kevin Sullivan TV series (1985) – never a more perfect Anne Shirley than actress Megan Follows.

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl / Fantastic Mr Fox directed by Wes Anderson (2009) – no, it’s not on the list because of George Clooney…

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak / Where the Wild Things Are directed by Spike Jonze (2009) – all the magic of the picture book, brought to life.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett / Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs directed by Phil Lord (2009) – because your favourite food falling out of the sky is exciting stuff.

Shrek! by William Steig / Shrek by Dreamworks (2001) – defined the ‘this is a kids film but adults will love it just as much’ genre.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney / Diary of a Wimpy Kid directed by Thor Freudenthal (2010) – you can’t deny the Total Eclipse of the Heart scene was stellar.

The Night at the Museum by Milan Trenc / Night at the Museum directed by Shawn Levy (2006) – dinosaurs coming to life are scary, but cool.

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss / The Lorax directed by Chris Renaud (2012) – a conservation story with catchy tunes? A winner.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell / How to Train Your Dragon by Dreamworks (2010) – I don’t often think a movie is ‘3-D worthy’ but this was the exception.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman / Coraline directed by Henry Selik (2009) – it’s dark, it’s creepy but it’s very, very good.

The Sheep-Pig by Dick King-Smith / Babe directed by Chris Noonan (1995) – one of the sweetest, loveliest films ever made. La-la-la-la-laaaa!

What have I missed? What would you add to the list?

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