By Ashly Moore Sheldon • July 29, 2020
It's always fun for readers to measure books against their screen versions. This is a great activity to introduce to younger audiences who may not yet know that (for real) #thebookisalwaysbetter! Right now, there are several entertaining adaptations out there, particularly for kids. We've rounded up a selection of great new book-to-screen pairs for children and youth that are either available now or coming soon. Pick up the books to read in advance of watching the show and make a family project out of comparing and and contrasting the two experiences.
A modern take on Hugh Lofting's 1922 book, Dolittle stars Robert Downy Jr. as the titular veterinarian who can communicate with animals. The all-star cast voicing the many creatures in the film includes Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Kumail Nanjiani, Octavia Spencer, and many more. The film is available to stream via Amazon Video. There are also movie adaptations from 1967* and 1998*.
The Nancy Drew series may feel dated, but for its time, it was revolutionary, offering a new, bolder style of femininity for young women and girls starting in the 1930s. The series, created to be a counterpart to the popular Hardy Boys franchise, was actually ghostwritten by a variety of authors under the pseudonym Carolyn Keene. The 2019 adaptation of the second book in the series is currently streaming on Hulu. We also have a couple copies* of the movie available.
The 2020 screen version of Jack London's classic novella was briefly released in theaters in February, but its run was cut short by the pandemic. Now the film, starring Harrison Ford as an adventurer who saves sled dog Buck from his abusive owners in the Yukon, is available for streaming via Amazon. There's also a 1972 version* starring Charleton Heston.
The charming animated version of this 2008 Lois Lowry novel, streaming on Netflix, boasts an impressive cast including Maya Rudolph, Martin Short, and Terry Crews. Complete with a cheeky glossary and bibliography, this clever parody about a hilariously dysfunctional family pays playful homage to classic works like Mary Poppins and A Christmas Carol.
Streaming on Disney+, this celebration of noncomformity, written by Jerry Spinelli, denotes the importance of being true to one's self. From the day she arrives at quiet Mica High in a burst of color and sound, Stargirl captures Leo Borlock's heart. His fellow students are also enchanted by her otherness—until they're not. Will Leo be brave enough to stand by her?
After a long wait for diehard fans, the movie version of Eoin Colfer's bestselling fantasy series has been released and is streaming on Disney+. The story follows the adventures of teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl II in the fairy world. Directed by Kenneth Brannagh, the film presents a unique take on the book's funny, fantastical character-driven world.
The wildly popular 1980s series from Ann M. Martin introduces a group of middle school-aged girls who start a baby-sitting club in a suburban Connecticut town. The books have previously been adapted into both a 1990 television series and a 1995 movie*, but the new Netflix series incorporates some timely updates, such as transgender characters, greater ethnic diversity, and gay marriage.
Coming to Disney+ on August 14, the adaptation of this Newbery-winning novel from Katherine Applegate presents the story of a silverback gorilla who has grown accustomed to his life in captivity as part of a shopping mall wildlife display. But when a baby elephant arrives, having been recently separated from her family in the wild, something shifts for the giant ape.
We are sure there are many other book-to-screen adaptations available for younger viewers right now. Any recommendations?
*Items in this blog marked with an asterisk have limited availability. Get them before they go out of stock! If they are out of stock, you can add to your wish list to be notified when we get another copy.