Read a Book and Watch the Movie

Spark your child’s love of reading this summer with a fun activity. Even with the variety of children’s books available these days it can be difficult to get some children reading. Why not try a new approach to motivate your children? Start a family book club where you read a book together, and then see the movie adaptation. This may be the hook your child needs to pick up the next book.

Many children’s books have been made into successful movies. Some of the well-known movie adaptations of children’s books include the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling, Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers and the Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Recently, the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey was adapted to film and many young patrons are streaming into the library looking for more books from the series.

My family has paired many books with movies throughout the years. The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket was one of our favorites. My husband and I read many of the books aloud to our children and listened to the audiobooks in the car. After we had finished the first three books we were ready to see the movie. It was fun to compare and contrast our favorite plot points in the books to how they were depicted in the movie.

As I began to think about other movie adaptations I found many suitable book and movie pairings for all ages. Here are a few of my favorites:
Curious George by H. A. Rey
Curious George by H. A. Rey
In this, the original book about the curious monkey, George is taken from the jungle by the man in the yellow hat to live in a new home, but—oh, what happened! Though trying to be good, George is still very curious and takes a swim in the ocean, escapes from jail, and goes for a flying ride on a bunch of balloons. This treasured classic is where it all began for the curious, lovable monkey and is a must have for any children's book collection. The G-rated movie adapts the beloved character with great humor and features a fabulous soundtrack. It has become a family favorite in our house.
Horton; Lorax
Horton Hears a Who! by Dr. Seuss
Horton is back! After his first appearance in Horton Hatches the Egg, everyone's favorite elephant returns in this timeless, moving, and comical classic in which we discover that "a person's a person, no matter how small." Thanks to the irrepressible rhymes and eye-catching illustrations, young readers will learn kindness and perseverance (as well as the importance of a good "Yopp") from the very determined—and very endearing—Horton the elephant. This movie adaptation features voices by Steve Carrell, Carol Burnett and Jim Carey among others and is rated G. Pair it with the book and movie of The Lorax to have a Dr. Seussathon!
Charlotte’s Web
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Charlotte’s Web tells the story of a little girl named Fern who loves a little pig named Wilbur—and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte, a beautiful large grey spider who lives with Wilbur in the barn. With the help of Templeton, the rat who never does anything for anybody unless there is something in it for him, and by a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saves the life of Wilbur, who is quite some pig. E. B. White's timeless tale of friendship, loyalty, and truth has endured for generations, while illustrations by Garth Williams bring to life these lovable characters. Using real life actors and animals, the G-rated movie is thoughtful and entertaining. There is also an animated version available.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
The unexpected delivery of a large crate containing an Antarctic penguin changes the life and fortunes of Mr. Popper, a house painter obsessed by dreams of the Polar regions. It is worth it to watch this G-rated film just for Jim Carey. He is a laugh riot!
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Ten-year-old Mary comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors and discovers an invalid cousin and mysteries of a locked garden. Featuring beautiful scenery, the G-rated movie is a great adaptation of this beloved book.
Beezus and Ramona

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
Beezus’ biggest problem is her 4-year-old sister Ramona. Even though Beezus knows sisters are supposed to love each other, with a sister like Ramona, it seems impossible. The G-rated film titled Ramona and Beezus focuses more on little sister Ramona. It is a sweet story appropriate for the whole family. It includes themes of family life, school and friendship.
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
A very small bear found by Mr. and Mrs. Brown at Paddington station becomes one of the family. First appearing as a chapter book, this story has been recreated as picture books, easy readers and now a feature film. My children and I loved these books growing up. The PG-rated film is a charming adventure full of slapstick humor.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
On a day when everything goes wrong for him, Alexander is consoled by the thought that other people have bad days too. The PG-rated movie is loosely based on the children’s book and is a great choice for older children and parents to enjoy together.
Shrek! by William Steig
Horribly hideous Shrek leaves home and terrifies everyone he encounters in his search for his equally ugly bride. Loosely based on the picture book, this PG-rated movie is loved by children and adults.
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. The PG-rated film was produced by Jimmy Buffet. It is a fun movie for tweens.

And last but not least, treat your family to a Roald Dahl marathon. His books are well-loved by children of all ages. Many movie adaptations have been made that treat his stories with respect and humor. Try one or try them all.
Roald Dahl Books & Movies
Charlie and the Chocolate FactoryDVD

Matilda; DVD

The Fantastic Mr. Fox; DVD


James and the Giant Peach; DVD

Happy reading and watching!

—Briana C


  1. Thanks for this blog post! As a lover of both movies and books, watching the movies based on the books is lots of fun for the entire family.


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