The Children's Literature Web Guide

Movies And Television Based on Children's Books

None of the movies currently in release were based on children's books. Evidently, the Golden Age of children's book adaptations is over. It lasted what? About eighteen months? Well, while it lasted, it gave us classics like Babe, Little Women, and A Little Princess, all of which should be available on video. Of course, it also gave us movies like The Stupids, and the liveaction version of 101 Dalmatians, and the less said about those contributions, the better.

On Video (and on the Web)

There are obviously many more children's books on video than I can possibly list here. This listing includes recent videos for which websites are available.
Angus (New Line)
Based on "A Brief Moment in the Life of Angus Bethune," a young adult short story from the book Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher. A shy overweight boy ends up at the freshman dance with the head cheerleader.

Babe (Universal)
Based on the novel Babe, the Gallant Pig, by Dick King-Smith (originally published in the UK as The Sheep-Pig), a story of an orphan pig who thinks he's a sheepdog.

The Baby-Sitters Club (Sony)
Based on the Baby-Sitters' Club books by Ann M. Martin about the lives of seven young girls, their adventures and their romances.

Bambi (Disney)
Adapted from the Felix Salten story. Animated.

Cinderella (Disney)
A re-release of Disney's animated retelling of the fairy tale.

Harriet the Spy (Paramount/Nickelodeon)
Based on the novel by Louise Fitzhugh. Live-action.

The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Disney)
Based on Notre Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo. It's not really a children's book, but I couldn't very well leave it out, could I?

The Indian in the Cupboard (Paramount)
Based on the novel by Lynne Reid Banks, about Omri, a nine-year-old boy whose birthday presents include a miniature toy Onondaga Indian that comes to life when Omri turns the cupboard key.

James and the Giant Peach (Disney)
Based on the novel by Roald Dahl. A blend of live-action and stop-motion animation.

Jumanji (Sony)
Based on the picture book by Chris Van Allsburg. A man who has been hexed for 25 years by the ancient board game Jumanji, is suddenly set free by a group of children -- but so are a group of wild and bizarre creatures, forcing everyone to band together to save the town.

A Kid in King Arthur's Court (Disney)
A loose adaptation of Mark Twain's A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

A Little Princess (Warner Bros.)
Directed by Alfonso Cuarón. Based on A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett.

Matilda (Sony)
Based on the novel by Roald Dahl. Produced and directed by Danny DeVito. Live-action.

Muppet Treasure Island (Disney)
Based on Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

101 Dalmatians (Disney) A live-action version.
Based on The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, and on the animated Disney film, which has an added connection to children's books, since Bill Peet wrote the screen treatment. Starring Glenn Close as Cruella De Vil, and also starring Jeff Daniels, Joely Richardson, and Joan Plowright. Written and produced by John Hughes ("Home Alone") Directed by Stephen Herek.

The Adventures of Pinocchio (New Line/Savoy)
Based on the novel by Carlo Collodi; starring Martin Landau and Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Live-action.

The Stupids
Based on the picture books written by Harry Allard and illustrated by James Marshall. Stanley Stupid (Tom Arnold) stumbles onto a conspiracy involving, among other things, aliens and terrorists. Live-action.

Tom and Huck (Disney)
Based on The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain.

On Television

Goosebumps
Information on the television series, and the books by R.L Stine.

Kino's Storytime
Lists schedule information and describes the books that are read aloud by celebrities.

Reading Rainbow
The website for this PBS series provides a schedule, as well as descriptions and activities for all the books featured in the current season.

Wishbone
Wishbone is a Jack Russell Terrier who plays a the hero in such classics of literature as Frankenbone and Pantin' at the Opera. Don't miss it! The PBS website provides episode summaries, and activities.

Check the Reviews

The Movie Review Query Engine will take you to a number of online reviews, as well as to the credits and other information available from the Internet Movie Database.

Both of these resources will amaze and astound you (or your money back!).

Other Guides to Family Movies

Not all Family movies are based on children's books, of course, and if these movies aren't to your liking, you might want to check the recommendations on some of these other sites:

You Still Need More Movie Information?

For more information on movies in general, check Clamen's Movie Information Collection, and David Augsburger's Cinema Sites. Both are excellent guides to film-related Internet sites.


Saturday, June 7, 1997
Copyright © 1997 David K. Brown. All rights reserved
The Children's Literature Web Guide