Film Adaptations of Children’s Books You Need to See

Children across the world love the story of Charlotte’s Web, the tale of a pig called Wilbur and his friend, Charlotte, the spider. Ten years ago, the film adaptation was released, starring Dakota Fanning as Fern Arable, Dominic Scott Kay as Wilbur, and Julia Roberts as Charlotte. Film adaptations of children’s books can be a magical way of enjoying the story, bringing the world and characters to life in vivid colour. Here, we take a look at some of the most iconic adaptations.

Charlotte’s Web by E B White

The 2006 film of Charlotte’s Web, directed by Gary Winick, was a huge hit when it was released. The film was praised by critics for how true it stayed to the book, as well as Fanning’s ‘sparky’ performance. The visual effects in the film are particularly spectacular, with the animals appearing unbelievably realistic, thanks to the technology used.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s work translates brilliantly to the big screen, hence the huge number of films that have been made out of his work. Full of life, colour and imagination, Dahl’s books always cause a storm when they are adapted. Director Tim Burton took on the challenge of adapting Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, starring Johnny Depp as the famous eccentric, Willy Wonka. The film was met with critical praise and grossed nearly $500 million internationally.

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

While there have been a number of film adaptations of the book, there are none quite as famous as the 1939 film, The Wizard of Oz, starring a young Judy Garland. The film has an iconic status and was ground breaking at the time of release for using Technicolor and its brilliant musical score. The film is still a popular favourite, thanks to Garland’s heartfelt performance and the brilliant absurdity of the cast of characters which surrounds her.

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Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is probably one of the world’s best loved children’s stories, following a young girl who discovers she has telekinetic powers. The film was a smash hit when it was released in 1996, starring Mara Wilson as the heroine, with producer and director Danny DeVito starring as her nasty father, Harry Wormwood. Pam Ferris also excels as the terrifying Agatha Trunchbull. This adaptation truly does justice to the original book, and is a must-see.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach is about a boy living with his cruel aunts, Spiker and Sponge, following the tragic death of his parents, our hero James longs for escape. He finds just that when a giant peach grows in his garden and James makes his way to the centre, befriending the creatures that live within. The 1996 film, directed by Henry Selick, combines live action and stop-motion animation, as well as musical elements. The film was nomination for numerous academy awards and is loved for how imaginatively it brings Dahl’s story to life.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid doesn’t just get one film adaptation, it has a series. With the first film, Diary of a Wimpy Kid released in 2010, fans were treated to the sequels Diary of a Wimpy Kid : Roderick Rules and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days in 2011 and 2012 respectively. 2017 will see the fourth and final live action film released. These books and films speak to young people for being a classic underdog tale, following middle-school reject, Greg Heffley and his fictionalised diaries.

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The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

Mike Myers was the perfect casting for the title role in The Cat in the Hat for the 2003 film. Combining fantasy and comedy, the film captured the imaginations of children around the world, grossing $134 million worldwide. Based on the original Dr Seuss book, but with added subplots and jokes, the film follows a tall cat, who wears a hat, and causes chaos for Sally and her brother.

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

Paddington Bear features in more than 20 books by Michael Bond, with his tale adapted for the screen by Paul King in 2014. A Bear Called Paddington boasts an all-star cast, including Ben Wishaw as our favourite bear, Hugh Bonneville, Sally Hawkins, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman, to name but a few. Paddington 2 is due for release in 2017 and if it is halfway as good as the first film, it has to be seen.

Featured Image Copyright Charlotte CC bryan thayer