By Amy Chesler
Part of the magic of childhood is the unlimited potential of one’s imagination. And, one of childhood’s greatest adventures is books! To be honest, I can remember my favorite children’s books and their messages more clearly than what I had for dinner yesterday. But to watch those favorites come to life in adulthood has the potential to be just as enjoyable as they used to be. So, for the sake of nostalgia, here are my top kids’ books-turned-movies.
The Witches is a rather dark tale about the secret world of the supernatural and their dream of ridding the world of children. Roald Dahl penned the book, which was wicked and delightful, but the 1990 film took the creep factor to the next level. The book and movie have their differences, but both tell a tale that all Dahl, fantasy, and light horror lovers can enjoy.
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Of all the Dr. Seuss adaptations, The Lorax (2012) has to be the best. It takes a fabulous story about treating our Earth kindly, and develops it into a dystopian tale chock full of great songs. They really hit the mark when they wrote and created this film – the Doc would be proud!
I remember flipping through the pages of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and wanting to eat the pictures. It was one of my favorite books for quite a long time, and the movie does not disappoint either. Even though the movie story of Flint Lockwood is drastically different than the original tale, I enjoyed the filmmakers’ loose take. If you haven’t seen yet, add it to your queue today.
My childhood literary hero was (unsurprisingly) busybody Harriet, created by the amazing Louise Fitzhugh. So, when Harriet the Spy came out in 1996, I was immediately smitten. When Harriet loses her spy notebook, her inquisitive spirit and attention to detail lead her on quite a memorable quest. Michelle Trachtenberg does a phenomenal job capturing her character, as do Rosie O’Donnell and Vanessa Lee Chester.
Kid lit genius Louis Sachar has gifted us plenty of excellent tales, but to watch his book Holes on the big screen was something else. Shia LeBeouf stars in one of his first big screen roles as a misunderstood kid who falls victim to a family curse. He’s soon sent to correctional camp, but little does he know that his hard time spent will change his life and his family’s trajectory forever. Holes is a film full of hope and heart that no one should miss.
Roald Dahl created an instant classic when he wrote Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but Mel Stuart did so as well with beloved film Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory. Gene Wilder helps capture all the charm and none of the creep in Willy, and the 1970s simplicity really aids to make this movie a true family gem.
Dr. Seuss does it again with Horton Hears a Who!, the tale of Horton, an elephant and bleeding heart. He finds evidence of universes much smaller than his and sets out to prove to the animal kingdom that a “person’s a person, no matter how small.” Jim Carrey and cast do an excellent job at reminding us of the magic of a simple Seuss story.
Stuart Little is the charming tale of an adoptive family who’s desperate to complete their tribe. But when they adopt Stuart, a young mouse with a rather big personality, no one really knows what they’re bargaining for. Both the book and the movie offer a delightful story full of hope and love. What more could you want for a family movie night?
As if the classic tale of Treasure Island wasn’t enough, what with its swashbuckling action and hair-raising adventure, Muppet Treasure Island takes it to a whole other level. The integrity of the story remains relatively intact, but the Muppets’ inane antics and musical comedy are the perfect additions to the pirate crew.
Kermit plays the friendly sea captain to Tim Curry’s villain, and the combination is pretty much perfect. If it’s been over a decade since you’ve watched this, I demand you watch it this week, you lily-livered buffoon!
Amy Chesler is an author, content creator, blogger, and family woman from Los Angeles, California. Her most recent publications include four different contributions in six different Chicken Soup for the Soul anthologies, as well as her first solo children’s book, A Man and His Books. Follow her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/abchesler), Twitter (@abcauthor), or Instagram (@abc_author) for updates, giveaways, and much more!