Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Ten Children's Books that Oughtta be Movies

That's right, they oughtta! Well . . . I'm not saying that they would make better films than books. . . these are just a few titles that I've read and enjoyed so much that I would love to see them on the big screen someday. I've narrowed down the choices to ten. Anybody who reads this post is welcome to make their own suggestions, and perhaps do some fantasy casting. Yay, speculation!

1. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale - - -- Just about everybody I know who has read this book has come up to me and said something like "this book would make a great movie, but Hollywood would probably ruin it the way they did Ella Enchanted." Yeah. Anyhow: this novel is a wonderful fairytale/school story hybrid that would bear up remarkably well as a screen adaptation. You hear me, Hollywood? REMARKABLY!

2. The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman -- -- If we didn't see it on the big screen, then at least it would make a great episode on that PBS "Mystery" show. It's got everything: opium dens, a fabulous jewel, people in big wool cloaks running down dark London streets in pouring rain . . .

3. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko -- I think there's a definite lack of movies in the "comic-events-in-Depression-era-prison" genre of children's films. Let's amend that, shall we?

4. The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander -- I know what you're saying: "But Disney already maaaaade this movieeeeee," in a high-pitched whiny voice. Ugh! If there was a way for me to banish all memories of the Disney adaptation of The Black Cauldron out of the collective conciousness, I'd do it. (Remember the animated version of Gurgi? Shudder.) If Them Movie Folk can serve us up decent adaptations of Narnia and Lord of the Rings, then I think Prydain's moment has come. Bring on the oracular pigs!

5. Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary -- The only "film" version I could find (on imdb.com) was the old 80's television series, which apparently didn't run for very long. Why shouldn't Ramona be treated to a big-budget film adaptaion? They made one out of Harriet the Spy, for crying out loud. You know that scads of eight-year-olds would be more than happy to get their parents to slap down the cash to see Ramona in the theatres. And I choose this particular volume of the Ramona books because it's the most interesting, most nuanced, and least dated. (Except maybe for that part when she quotes TV commercials. Maybe.)

6. The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer -- Yeah, this would make a kick-butt movie. But the book gave me the willies, so I probably wouldn't see it. As long as they don't call it "Scorpions on a Plane," I'm fine.

7. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry -- I was kind of dumbfounded with disbelief when I found out that this book hasn't already been made into some kind of film. Not even "Hallmark Hall of Fame" has done this one. Which is weird, considering that there must be a law or something requiring at least one new movie about World War II to be produced every year. Huh.

8. The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder -- I can just see a cinematographer having a ball filming cute kids lost in costumed fantasy play. Plus there's that weird subplot with the serial child killer. Nothin' says "hot movie action" like a serial child killer subplot.

9. Half Magic by Edward Eager -- -- Eager stated that this book was inspired by E. Nesbit's novels (The Enchanted Castle, Five Children and It) but every film adaptation I've seen of a Nesbit novel has been ah, not so great. However, Half Magic, with its small-town mid-20th-century American setting, seems like it would be easier to adapt for modern audiences. The scene in the movie theatre! The half-talking cat! Think of it! Plus, I just think it's flippin' funnier than the Nesbit novels -- which I love, but . . . um, okay . . . I think I'm getting in over my head here.

10. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine -- Yeah. And let's get it right this time.


Erin said...

I would love to see an adaption of Princess Academy! AND The Prydain Chronicles. Oooh, I wish someone would! (Now you've got me all riled up.) :)

Pooja said...

I've heard that the BBC are going
to make TV adaptations of the Sally Lockhart stories. I can't wait.

Jules said...

I'm currently reading 'Sharp North' by Patrick Cave and can see the movie in my mind (only well-done, of course).

Love your blog.

Camille said...

Apparently, The Black Cauldron is not mentioned at Disney Inc. either. I read somewhere that the studio will not willing discuss the movie and just hope people eventually forget it.

Anonymous said...

I actually owned a copy of The Egypt Game when I was a kid. I just remember it being really weird.


Nancy said...

I just finished Princess Academy this morning (woefully behind in so many areas of my life, reading being just one). It is fabulous and would be a wonderful source for a well-done movie!