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Yes Day and More!

New Family-Friendly Book-to-Screen Adaptations

By Ashly Moore Sheldon • March 10, 2021

Netflix's new family movie, Yes Day, starring Jennifer Garner is an adaptation of this book of the same name by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. The premise? Tired of always feeling like they have to say no, parents decide to give their kids a day of calling the shots and mayhem ensues. As usual, we're excited to compare and contrast the book and screen versions. Our newest batch of featured adaptations are family-friendly choices available now or coming soon. And if you're anything like us, you'll make a point to read (or even reread) the source material with your kids before you press play.

The Breadwinner

Streaming on Netflix and also available on DVD, the animated adaptation of Deborah Ellis's book is great for a family night viewing with kids who are a little older (think tweens and teens). The moving story—part of a series—is about a young girl living in Kabul who must dress as a boy to help support her family.

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

NYT bestselling cartoonist Stephan Pastis dreamed up this hilarious comedy series about an endearingly goofy eleven-year-old hero running his own personal detective agency with the help of his business partner, a very large polar bear named Total (who may be imaginary). The movie is streaming on Disney+.

The Little Prince

There are many screen versions of the 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. We are excited to see this one—the first to expand the story into a full-length feature. The stop-motion animation film was adapted from French to English by Netflix and features great voice work from Paul Rudd, Jeff Bridges, Rachel McAdams, Paul Giamatti, and many others.

Sherlock Holmes

There have, of course, been numerous adaptations of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's stories featuring the legendary pipe-smoking detective. And currently, that includes three eclectic selections for younger audiences. The 1985 film Young Sherlock Holmes, now streaming on Amazon Prime, imagines Holmes and Watson as teenagers at school. The 2020 Netflix movie Enola Holmes, based on its own book and series, conjures up a teenage sister of the already-famous sleuth. Last (and maybe also least?) we have to mention the animated 2018 movie Sherlock Gnomes.

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

This beloved picture book by Judi Barrett has been adapted into two feature films (2009 and 2013), as well as a TV series that aired in 2017–18, all of which are streaming on Netflix. The original story involves a town called Chewandswallow where weather comes three times a day and delivers the daily meals, until something starts to go wrong.

Anne of Green Gables

Anne with an E is the newest adaptation of L.M. Montgomery's beloved series featuring the imaginative and spirited orphan who captures the hearts of everyone she meets. The award-winning Netflix series (now with three seasons) offers a bold new take.

The Witches

Starring Anne Hathaway, the newest adaptation of the darkly comic Roald Dahl novel is streaming on HBO Max. It is the story of a boy who, having recently lost his parents in a car accident, moves to Alabama to live with his grandmother. There he encounters a fearsome coven of witches who despise children. The 2010 version starring Anjelica Huston is available here.

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett's classic tale about an unhappy young orphan girl who discovers joy, purpose, and companionship as she begins caring for a long-neglected garden on her ward uncle's estate. This is another story that has been adapted for the screen multiple times. The most recent film starring Colin Firth and Julie Walters was slated for release in theaters last spring (we all know how that went) and is now streaming on Hulu. Here's the 1993 version starring Maggie Smith.

With so many projects delayed due to the pandemic, this is just the beginning for 2021. There are so many more big titles on the way. Here a few more we're excited about:

If you know of any family-friendly book-to-screen adaptations coming soon or available now that you're excited about, we'd love to hear about them.

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Read more by Ashly Moore Sheldon

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