From book to film, and back again

by Gina
Seeing your favourite childhood book adapted for the screen (big or small!) can be a magical and sentimental experience. It can reignite your love of that story, and you just might find yourself itching to pick up that beloved book once again.
Book adaptations continue to occupy the majority of film and TV production, and 2020 was no exception. Here are some books that made it to the screen last year, and some you can look forward to this year. We hope you’ll enjoy thse great stories and films, whether with your little ones or just to satisfy your own nostalgia!
Let’s start with one of my favourite book-to-film adaptions of all time:
Where the Wild Things Are
This tale, written and wonderfully illustrated by Maurice Sendek, centres around Max. A mischievous boy nicknamed "wild thing" by his mother, Max is sent to bed one night without dinner. Wearing his wolf costume, he runs away and travels to an imaginary island of curious looking creatures – the wild things! The creatures accept Max into their fold and crown him their ruler. As a child, I loved the pictures of the wild things and imagining such a place as this mysterious island. In 2009, Spike Jones adapted this story for the screen and I was able to revisit this exciting story and see Sendek’s illustrations come to life!
His Dark Materials
This fantasy drama trilogy was adapted into a television series in 2019, and in 2020 it entered its second season! Starring Dafne Keen, James McAvoy and Ruth Wilson, we join Orphan Lyra’s magical story intertwining magic and the paranormal that I am certain will keep you hooked. Whether you’re new to the story or just revisiting, why not start with Philip Pullman’s first book of the series, Northern Lights. Now with a TV tie-in cover!
Suitable for 10+ years.
The Call of the Wild
Chris Sanders brought this heartfelt story to the big screen at the beginning of last year starring Harrison Ford, Dan Stevens, and Karen Gillan. And who doesn’t love a furry lead protagonist? This short adventure story, written by Jack London, is set during the 1890s and centres around a dog called Buck. Buck lives a happy and pleasant life in the sunny Santa Clara Valley, but one day finds himself kidnapped and forced into the life of a sledge dog in the freezing cold Yukon. He then must fight for his survival and find his place in the world – but will he succeed?
Suitable for 10+ years.
The One and Only Ivan
In the autumn of last year, Disney brought Katherine Applegate’s beautifully written tale to the screen with a mix of live-action and CGI. The film features an all-star cast, including Sam Rockwell, Bryan Cranston, Angelina Jolie, Danny DeVito, and Helen Mirren. The story centres around Ivan, a gorilla who has spent most of his life caged in a shopping mall and has little recollection of his past. He soon meets Ruby, a baby elephant, who helps him imagine the possibility of another way of life. With the help of other captive animals, they hatch a plan to escape!
Suitable for 9+ years.
The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Following the success of Peter Rabbit in 2018, director Will Gluck returns in 2021 with Peter Rabbit 2, with characters voiced by Daisy Ridley, James Cordon, and Margot Robbie. The films are based on the classic tales and characters of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. The mischievous and disobedient Peter finds himself in even more entertaining adventures. Take a look at our selected works of Peter Rabbit. Also available on our website is the Peter Rabbit Mad Libs game!
Suitable for 5-10 years.


The Hundred and One Dalmatians
Twenty twenty-one brings more excitement with Disney’s live-action origin story adaption of the children’s classic, The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Cruella will star Emma Stone, Emma Thompson, and Mark Strong. The film will follow a young Cruella de Vil before she becomes the puppy-snatching villain we know from the classic tale. If you’re interested in this prequel, why not refresh your memory and have a read of Dodie Smith’s beloved creation?
When Missis and Pongo's Dalmatian puppies are stolen, they know just who to suspect ... the evil Cruella de Vil, who would love nothing more than to turn them into a spotty fur coat! With the help of some fearless furry friends, the parents set off on a brave rescue attempt.
Suitable for 9+ years.
We hope you’re just as excited to get stuck in (or return!) to these wonderful tales as we are! Here’s to the new year, and happy reading (and watching)!