Monday, May 20, 2013

Movie Adaptations - A Wishlist

As we all know, screenwriters and film producers of the last five or ten years have been ransacking their bookshelves (and the bookshelves of their teenagers and children) to find material for their films and TV series. Though this is certainly happening in the world of adult fiction, it's absolutely a rampant madhouse of adaptations in the world of children's literature. In the last ten years, we've seen everything from Because of Winn-Dixie to Twilight to Speak to The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (never mind the monumentally successful Harry Potter series).

Since it's clear that Hollywood is looking frantically for new children's and YA literature to adapt, I thought I'd put forward some of my favorite titles for consideration.

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

I'm actually kind of shocked this one hasn't at least been optioned as a movie yet because it's exactly what studios seem to want these days: plucky heroine defies family and runs away to live with dragons. It's all very fractured fairy tale and very funny. I would be very happy to have Helen Mirren play the voice of Kazul the dragon and Chloe Grace Moretz as Princess Cimorene ... and maybe Alex Kingston as Moren the witch. This would be a great big-budget movie but only if it was done thoughtfully - don't overdue the special effects!

Knuffle Bunny, Knuffle Bunny Too, and Knuffle Bunny Free by Mo Willems

What I really want is for Mr. Willems to go do some collaboration with Pixar but I'd also love to see Willems, a former award-winning TV animator himself, work his hilarious and touching photograph/cartoon-illustrated trilogy into a short animated film in three acts. The photos themselves could be actual black and white film footage with the cartoons animated over top. Hilarious! I love the idea of Matt Damon narrating, for some reason ...

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I spend a lot of time shoving this one into readers' shopping baskets - it's truly fantastic, classic children's literature. Sounds like another Rick Riordan fantasy about mythology but actually, it's about four kids who create their own make-believe ancient Egyptian court in an abandoned lot behind a mysterious antique shop. I think it would be a fantastic movie. April and Melanie, the main characters, are such strong, original, realistic girls and the supporting characters around them are so lively and vibrant. I can see Elle Fanning as April and Amandla Stenberg as Melanie, with Christopher Lee as the mysterious antique store owner. I'd love to see this one as a small-budget movie, maybe led by Joss Whedon ...

Half Magic by Edward Eager

This is one of my favorite read-aloud books, both from my own childhood and as a teacher. Like Roald Dahl, Edward Eager needs only a few words to paint a clear, compelling, and very funny picture: four siblings who find a complicated piece of magic and, predictably, wreak all kinds of havoc trying to use it. I'd want Saoirsa Ronan as Jane, Asa Butterfield as Mark, Rosie Taylor-Ritson as Katherine, and ... I'm honestly not quite sure about Martha, the spunky youngest sister. I see this as a movie, although maybe a BBC miniseries would be cool too.

What are some of your favorite children's and YA lit books that you'd love to see adapted for films, TV shows, or even stage plays?


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