The best children

We take a look at the best movies, based on kids

This week, CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 hits Irish cinemas. Based on the books by Judi Barrett and Ron Barrett, the film takes place in the immediate aftermath of the foodageddon at Swallow Falls, Flint Lockwood (Bill Hader) is given a chance to work with his idol Chester V (Will Forte), and jumps at the chance. Back in Swallow Falls, however, something odd is happening with Flint’s machine, and it won’t be long before Flint has to go back and investigate.
With this great adaptation released in cinemas this week, we decided to take a look back at some other great movies, based on kids’ books.

Another stop motion classic, this time based on a book by Roald Dahl. Mr Fox and his friends steal food from the farmers whose land they live on. When the farmers decide enough is enough, Mr Fox comes up with a truly ‘Fantastic’ plan to outwit the humans. 
Roald Dahl’s book was adapted for the screen by Wes Anderson, and his 2009 stop motion film featured the voices of Murray, George Clooney and Meryl Streep.

Dr Seuss environmental tale, The Lorax, is the story of a magical character who protects the trees from the Once-ler, a man who cut down all the Truffula trees, in order to make Thneeds for the residents of the nearby town. As the Once-ler’s garments became more and more successful, he cut down more and more trees, until the land was destroyed and there were no more trees for The Lorax to protect.
The film version of THE LORAX featured the voices of Danny DeVito and Zac Efron, and was released in 2012. The film was a commercial success, and was praised for it’s Seuss-y ness.

C.S. Lewis’s book focuses on the world of Narnia, a fantastic world which Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie discover at the back of their wardrobe, when they are sent out of London during The Blitz. The children soon learn of Aslan, the lion who gurads and saves Narnia, and the wicked Queen Jadis who has driven Aslan out of Narnia and covered the land in eternal winter. With the help of the children, Aslan defeats the wicked Queen, and the children are named kings and queens of Narnia, in return.
The film version of Lewis’s book was released in 2005, and was the third most successful film of that year. The film was directed by Andrew Adamson and starred Tilda Swinton as Jadis, with Liam Neeson voicing Aslan.

Christianna Brand’s NURSE MATILDA books centre on an ugly nursemaid, who teaches the mischievous, and numerous, Brown children to behave in a civilised manner. When she has taught the children to be good and decent, Nurse Matilda leaves, to attend another family of naughty children.
Emma Thompson adapted the NURSE MATILDA books for the screen, renaming the title character Nanny McPhee; Thompson also took on the title role. A second film, NANNY MCPHEE AND THE BIG BANG, saw the character take on the children of a woman whose husband has gone to war.

L. Frank Baum’s book, published in 1939, told the story of Dorothy, a young woman who was transported to the magical land of Oz when a tornado hit her home town of Kansas. Dorothy accidentally kills the Wicked Witch of the East when she arrives, and the Good With of the East tells her that in order to return home, she must travel down the Yellow brick Road to the Emerald City, and ask the Wizard of Oz to help her. Along the way, Dorothy meets a Scarecrow, a Tin Man and a cowardly Lion. The gang reach the Emerald City, but the Wizard of Oz tells them that they must kill the Wicked Witch of the West before he can grant their wishes.
THE WIZARD OF OZ was not the first film to be made of Baum’s book, nor was it a commercial success when it was first released. When the film was shown on TV however, it won a whole new audience, and was re-released in cinemas several times. The film starred Judy Garland as Dorothy, and often ranks highly in polls of critics and fans alike.

HONOURABLE MENTIONS TO: Charlotte’s Web and the Harry Potter books.

Have we missed out your favourite kids’ book to screen adaptation? Let us know in the comments below.

CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS 2 is released in Irish cinemas on October 25th.

Words: Brogen Hayes