As I said in Part One of this list, nothing can replace reading a great book. However, watching a good film adaptation might be the next best thing.
We might find that our “books-to-read” list is getting long or our child’s patience with reading is getting short. Reading is essential to a solid education and to becoming a strong writer, but we can give our young readers (and ourselves) a “break” without losing all the benefits of reading a book.
Basic literary elements such as theme, plot, and character can be addressed by watching a film adaptation of a book. Furthermore, writing projects such as a movie review, summary, or in-depth analysis can easily come out of a movie. These projects will promote a deeper interaction with the film and allow for interesting writing pieces.
With that in mind, here is part two of a list of movies adapted from young adult and children’s books. Make some popcorn, get comfortable on the couch, and enjoy the show.
- The Jungle Book (2016): Robbie Collin of The Telegraph deemed this film “a sincere and full-hearted adaptation that returns to Kipling for fresh inspiration.” Based on a collection of stories by English author Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book tells the story of Mowgli, an orphaned human boy. He is guided by his animal guardians as he sets out on a journey of self-discovery while evading the threatening tiger, Shere Khan. Rated PG
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005): Based on the Roald Dahl book of the same name, the film tells the story of a young boy who wins a tour through the most magnificent chocolate factory in the world, led by the world’s most unusual candy maker. While some prefer the original with Gene Wilder as Wonka, Tim Burton’s 2005 remake is said to be slightly more faithful to Dahl’s original story. Why not watch them both? Other popular films based on Roald Dahl’s books are James and the Giant Peach (1996, Rated PG) and BFG (2016, Rated PG). Rated PG
- Where the Wild Things Are (2009): Maurice Sendak’s book is a classic story about childhood and the places we go to figure out the world in which we live. When rambunctious and sensitive young Max feels misunderstood, he escapes to an island where he meets mysterious creatures, called the Wild Things. He soon finds that their emotions are as wild as their actions. The Wild Things desire a leader to guide them, just as Max longs for a kingdom to rule. As their leader, Max promises to create a place where everyone will be happy, but he soon discovers that ruling his kingdom is far from easy. Rated PG
- How to Train your Dragon (2010): Loosely based on the children’s book series by Cressida Cowell, this film is set in a mythical Viking world where a young Viking teenager named Hiccup aims to follow his tribe’s tradition of becoming a dragon slayer. After finally capturing his first dragon, he finds that he no longer wants to kill it and instead befriends it. Rated PG
- The Lorax (2012): In an adaptation of the book of the same title, the imaginative world of Dr. Seuss comes to film. Twelve-year-old Ted will do anything to find a real live Truffula Tree in order to impress the girl of his dreams. As he embarks on his journey, he discovers the incredible story of the Lorax, a grumpy but charming creature who speaks for the trees. Rated PG
If you haven’t seen the first half of the list, you can see it here: Film Adaptations of Literature. You can add your own film suggestions in the comments below.
I hope you and your child will find these films both enjoyable and great tools for education.