Book, Camera, Action; Film Adaptations of Good Books Can Be Great for a Child's Education. Si,n Smith of Cardiff Council Suggests Her Nominations for Box Office Success Stories

South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales), February 14, 2012 | Go to article overview

Book, Camera, Action; Film Adaptations of Good Books Can Be Great for a Child's Education. Si,n Smith of Cardiff Council Suggests Her Nominations for Box Office Success Stories


* HERE are some people who are rather superior about film adaptations of books. I'm not one of them.

Films cannot possibly include every detail of a book, nor should they try.

There cannot be a facial expression for every emotion a character struggles with and voiceovers can seem "clunky" if used too much.

And no, the actor who plays the main character in a book cannot possibly look like the one you visualised as you read it. But that's okay, because film adaptations (even the bad ones!) offer so much.

Film adaptations are a high profile, current and relevant way to enthuse children and teenagers about reading They can increase children's confidence in their own "adaptation" of a book; what they visualise is as valid, if not more so, than a director's interpretation.

They allow fantastic shared opportunities between families to discuss why a director focused on a particular event, or left one out.

So here's my top 10 of the really good film adaptations of books. If you haven't read them, then do and then rent the film. In that order.

Holes by Louis Sachar This film adaptation is a winner for adults and older children alike, partly because it doesn't get too hung up about being completely true to the book. For the actor who plays the protagonist, Stanley Yelnats (read it backwards) this is a very fortunate move by the director. Although, I must admit, I'm not sure you'd be allowed to pay child actors to "bulk up" and lose weight during the filming process. As punishment for a crime he did not commit, Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention and correctional facility where convicts of similar age are forced to dig holes to "build their character" but all is not what it seems... Twilight by Stephanie Meyer Okay, so the fourth film should never have been made. And, if we're honest, things were getting a bit silly after this incredible first film. It's hard not to become totally engrossed in the moody, atmospheric, stylised teenage-vampire drama from the off. And despite what you may have heard, this book and its adaptation is definitely not just for the girls.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney Recently published in Welsh, this American novel follows the adventures and mishaps of Gregory "Greg" Heffley, the main protagonist of the realistic fiction series in diary form (although he'd prefer to say "journal"). He's not a hero; he gets it wrong again and again to hilarious, comedic and occasionally emotional ends through his obsession with becoming more popular. It's worth reading for the older brother, Rodrick's, treatment of Greg, alone.

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz What's not to love? Fast cars, amazing gadgets, secret missions, jumps from planes and a huge Portuguese Man o' War in a gigantic fish tank. With the action taking place between London and Cornwall, this a James Bond for beginners, without the alcohol and casual sexism! Big names appear in the film adaptation, including Stephen Fry, Mickey Rourke, Ewan McGregor, Sophie Okonedo, Ashley Walters, Robbie Coltrane and Bill Nighy (phew). …

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