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Best Animated Adaptations of Books

Best Animated Adaptations of Books

When it comes to animated films, there is a long history going back to the 1930’s of wonderful films.  Many of these, especially many children’s films have been adapted from classic children’s books.  One great thing about sharing these movies as a family is that you can enjoy the movie as well as encourage your children to read the book afterwards, which is a win-win situation for everyone.  Even if you don’t have children, animated films provide a fun escape from the real world for adults. 

Here is a list of some of the very best animated movie adaptations of books.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966)

The classic Dr. Seuss book has been loved by children for generations and the movie is a great reflection.  The animated version of this movie is a classic that resonates to this day. Not only was it a great movie version of the book, but it contains a lesson that is important to parents and kids alike, especially relevant around the holidays. The classic song “Mr. Grinch” is fun and gets pleasantly stuck in your head when you hear it. The Jim Carrey remake was not as well received by critics but it was beloved by children – and it is highly recommended to get your kids to sit down and watch the 1966 movie. *

James and the Giant Peach (1996)

One of the best children’s authors of all time, Roald Dahl, wrote the original book behind the fun Claymation that features good music and interesting characters which accurately depict the story from the book. Roald Dahl has a slightly dark yet enduringly optimistic style, and this is one of the animated films that manages to walk that line. This is a great example of a movie that you could watch with your kids and then follow up by having them read the book on their own or together with you. Of course those without kids can also enjoy this artistic marvel regardless of age.

The Jungle Book (1967)

With the beloved Phil Harris as the deep, smooth bass voice of Baloo the bear (he also did Little John in Robin Hood and Thomas O’Malley in The Aristocats), The Jungle Book is an enduring classic among animated films. It has all of the hallmarks of a great Disney film, including great music, loveable characters and a plot line that makes both kids and adults smile. It also contains a good message about not needing much in the song “Bear Necessities,” which is a good message for todays’ kids.

Charlotte’s Web (1973)

With ethereal music and a strong message, Charlotte’s Web is a wonderfully adapted novel. This is the story of a pig that is watched over and cared for by a spider that lives above his pen, and the movie also follows the life of the spider, including birth of her babies and then her death.  It may be a heavy theme, but it’s presented in a light and fun way that kids will enjoy.  The movie adaptation is a good representation of the overall message of the book.

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

Set in a fictional world of Vikings, this fantastical series of books was perfect for a movie.  And this is definitely one instance that will inspire kids to want to read the books. The movie is great but it couldn’t possibly contain the entire story held within the books series. Enjoying the entire series of books together could be a fun activity that you could do as a family that will span several months.  It will also be a nice refresher for anyone who enjoyed the Eragon books but was let down by the movie which disappointed many of the book readers.  How To Train Your Dragon, on the other hand, was well received by readers of the books and critics alike.

The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)

This animated movie adaptation of the classic books by A. A. Milne perfectly captures the 100 Acre Wood and the characters that inhabit the world of Christopher Robin. With catchy music and a very laid-back feel, this is a really nice movie for even the youngest of children. There are newer Pooh movies that are equally good, but the original is a great start to introduce kids to the characters of the 100 Acre Wood.

Whether you are a movie lover or a book worm, finding a good book to movie animated adaptation is a great way to enjoy the deep characters and stories that come from the minds of some of the best authors of all time.


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