Monday, December 1, 2008

Twelve Days of Giving: From Book to Screen

Got a movie buff on your holiday gift-giving list? Pair a DVD with the book it was based on and a promise to read and/or watch it together.

For young kids:

Buying for a child who's interested in science? Pair The Magic School Bus - Human Body with a corresponding book - The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body.

Scholastic has several Storybook Treasures DVDs that each include several videos of popular picture book. Pair Knuffle Bunny & More Great Childhood Adventure Stories with Knuffle Bunny and Knuffle Bunny Too. (You can also add the Knuffle Bunny plush toy if you want to add a little something extra!)

Of course there are a few picture books that have been turned into major motion pictures. The Polar Express is a classic book that's been turned into a full-length movie. Horton Hears a Who is being released on DVD December 9, just in time for holiday giving.

Speaking of Seuss, consider the Seuss Celebration and one or more of the books that go with it: The Cat in the Hat, Green Eggs & Ham, or The Lorax. (These are the original animated specials, not the crazy Mike Myers Cat in the Hat.)

For middle grade kids:

The Tale of Despereaux will be released on December 19. Go see the movie as a family and then wrap up this nice edition of Katie DiCamillo's book for holiday giving. Or give the book and movie tickets if you want to read the book together first. (Movie is rated G, book is approximately 3rd grade and up.)

Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terebithia was (and is) a favorite book of mine. I read it over and over. It's been made into quite a nice film (but be warned that both are pretty sad!). (Movie is PG, book is approx. 4th grade and up.)

For environmentally conscious kids, pair the movie with Carl Hiaasen's Hoot. This story of a Florida boy's quest to save burrowing owls from a building project has a little adventure and a little mystery. (Movie is PG, book is 4th grade and up.)

Give a boxed set of the Spiderwick Chronicles with the DVD of the movie. This is great for young fantasy fans. (Movie is rated PG, books are 4th grade and up.)

Holes is a perennial favorite among middle grade readers and the movie is great, too. Holes tells the story of young Stanley Yelnats, a boy who lands in a detention center due to forces beyond his control. What he finds there will amaze them all... (Movie is PG, book is 4th grade and up.)

For teens:

Pair the movie How to Deal with Sarah Dessen's two books that it was based on: Someone Like You and That Summer. This would be a great choice for a mother/aunt/grandmother-daughter viewing. (Movie is rated PG-13, book is 7th grade and up.)

Another great girly movie/book pairing is The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants with Ann Brashare's novel (or series). (Movie is PG-13, first book I would say 7th grade and up, but the subsequent ones get more mature.) Also worth noting is that Ann Brashares has what looks to be the first in a new series coming out in January: 3 Willows is due out January 13.

2007's The Freedom Writers was based on the book The Freedom Writers' Diary, written by high school students in Long Beach, CA. This is a great book for high school students who think about the world around them and strive to make it a better place. Reading about the struggles of teens from many walks of life is an eye-opening experience. (Movie is rated PG-13, book is 10th grade and up.)

For kids who love espionage and adventure, give the Alex Rider Collection with the movie based on the first book, Stormbreaker. This series features Alex Rider, a teenage boy swept into the spy agency that killed his uncle and sent to investigate various suspicious things. There's also a graphic novel of Stormbreaker. (Movie is PG, books are 6th grade and up.)

Need more ideas? Check out the rest of my 12 Days of Giving posts!