Hollywood is always looking for the next big property to turn into a blockbuster film. Sure, the book is almost always better than the film, but there’s a lot of value in both reading the book with your kids and then taking them to see the film adaptation. Here’s a look at a few famous children’s books that have seen major movie treatments and how you can enjoy both the reading and viewing time with your kids.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
This famous children’s book by Roald Dahl visits the adventures of a young boy named Charlie who wins a trip to the most mysterious and famous candy factory in the world: the Wonka Chocolate Factory. While there, Charlie and a number of other kids undergo strange misadventures under the eye of the elfin Willy Wonka, and learn life lessons in the process.
This book-to-film adaptation has been done twice — once in the 1970s with Gene Wilder in the role of Willy Wonka, and once in the 2000s with Johnny Depp in the role. Both teach valuable lessons about misbehaving and the negative effects it has.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
This classic by L. Frank Baum visits the adventures of 8-year-old Dorothy Gale who is whisked away to a magical land of talking lions, living scarecrows, walking tin men and wicked witches. Dorothy’s quest is to find her way home, while learning valuable lessons about herself and her dreams in the process. The story has seen many book-to-film adaptations, the most famous being that with Judy Garland, which still holds up today.
This high fantasy children’s book has recently been given an epic three-film adaptation by Peter Jackson and features the adventures of an unassuming hobbit named Bilbo Baggins, who is caught up in an adventure to reclaim an ancient dwarven treasure. It features dragons, wizards, elves, dwarves, gold, treasure, battles and honor. It has a lot to teach about finding yourself by expanding your horizons and moving outside your comfort zone. There is also a classic cartoon adaptation from the 1970s that is perfect for younger children.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Few fantasy novels for children are quite as popular as The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which has been adapted numerous times, with the best and most faithful being the 2005 film adaptation. It follows the adventures of a family of children pulled out of the horrors of World War II and dropped into a world of fawns, dwarves, evil witches and a noble lion. It discusses themes of honor, loyalty, self-sacrifice and what it means to be family.
Book vs. Film
Taking your child to see a film after reading the book can help them to expand their horizons and help in critical reasoning skills. A child may get a different message from the film, and it can help them expand their imagination to discuss what differences they saw in the film, and how they viewed the book before seeing the visuals.
If you are eager to add visual aids to your child’s love of reading and literature, try one of our eBooks like Cinderella, and then check out the classic Disney film version!