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15 Children’s Books Made Into Movies

It’s official, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s beloved novella, The Little Prince, is hitting the big screen — and some of Hollywood’s biggest names will voice the upcoming children’s book turned animated film.

So far, Rachel McAdams, Jeff Bridges, Benicio Del Toro, James Franco, Marion Cotillard, Mackenzie Foy, and Paul Giamatti are on-board to voice this sweet fantasy story of a child prince who comes to Earth from his home asteroid, and the pilot who crash lands in the Sahara Desert and encounters him.

The Little Prince has been adapted for film and television many times before, including a popular 1974 live action musical version. Readers and viewers may recall the crucial roles of the Fox and the Rose, and the philosophical stories shared between the Prince and the pilot (due to be voiced by Bridges, who with Cotillard and Del Toro is one of three Academy Award winners in the cast.)

Books become films all the time, including many well-known children’s titles, old and new. I’ve scanned my memory bank for some of the most notable kids’ books that came to life on the big screen. What are your favorites?

  • The Little Prince 1 of 15
    thelittleprince-movie

    The 1974 musical adaptation of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's beloved novel about a prince visiting Earth from an asteroid starred Gene Wilder, Bob Fosse, Steven Warner (who was eight years-old when the film was released) as the young prince, and Richard Kiley as the aviator who crash-landed in the Sahara Desert and encountered him. 

    Look out for one of the book's most popular and meaningful quotes, and a great message for kids, in next year's animated version: "It is only with the heart that one can see rightly. What is essential is invisible to the eye," a popular quote from the story.

    Image credit: Amazon

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2 of 15
    Diary_of_a_Wimpy_Kid_movie_poster

    Teen actor Zachary Taylor brings Diary of a Wimpy Kid main character Greg Heffley's journal notes and drawings to life, straight from the pages of Jeff Kinney's first novel in this series. Taylor returned as Greg in Diary of a Wimpy Kid 2: Rodrick Rules, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid 3: Dog Days

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Charlotte’s Web 3 of 15
    CharlottesWeb

    Dakota Fanning starred, and Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese, and Oprah Winfrey were among the voices of the farm animals in the 2006 live-action version of E.B. White's classic novel. The 1973 animated version of the story of an unlikely and powerful friendship between a pig and a barn spider remains an enduring sentimental favorite. 

    "It is not often that someone comes along who is a true friend and a good writer. Charlotte was both." And Wilbur, as you may recall, was "some pig." 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Alice In Wonderland 4 of 15
    Alice-In-Wonderland-Theatrical-Poster

    Lewis Carroll's story of a little girl who fell down a rabbit hole into a strange and wonderful world of kings and queens, mad hatters, and March hares is one of the most filmed books in history. Tim Burton's 2010 computer-animated and live action version, starring Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham-Carter, Anne Hathaway, and Alan Rickman, among others, is currently the 14-highest grossing film of all time. 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Bridge to Terabithia 5 of 15
    Bridge-to-terabithia-poster

    Author Katherine Paterson's son, David, got her permission to write the screenplay of this novel based on events from his childhood. The 2007 release of the story of a small-town fantasy world named Terabithia, coming of age, friendship, and loss, starred Zooey Deschanel, Josh Hutcherson, AnnaSophia Robb, Robert Patrick, and Bailee Madison. 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory 6 of 15
    Willy-Wonka-and-the-chocolate-factory-Movie-Poster

    Long before Tim Burton's 2005 remake of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Johnny Depp as Willy Wonka, Gene Wilder took the part by storm in 1971's Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. True to the Roald Dahl novel, Wilder's Wonka took five children on a mystery tour through his secret chocolate factory, putting them through a test only revealed at the end.  

    "We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of the dreams," is a takeaway Wonka quote from the book that made it into both versions of the film. 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 7 of 15
    Harry_Potter_and_the_Chamber_of_Secrets_movie

    The child wizard heard 'round the world arose from the pages of J.K. Rowling's record-breaking, award-winning series of Harry Potter books in the form of British actor Daniel Radcliffe. Accompanied by Emma Watson as Hermione Granger and Rupert Grint as Ron Weasley, Radcliffe portrayed the boy wizard in all seven film adaptations of the books, the highest-grossing film series of all time. 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • The Lorax 8 of 15
    The_Lorax

    The story of The Lorax, Dr. Seuss's environmentally-concerned creature who goes up against the Once-ler on behalf of the trees, came to theaters in 2012. Featured voice performers included Danny DeVito as the Lorax, Zac Efron as Ted, Ed Helms as the Once-ler, Betty White as Grammy Norma, and Taylor Swift as Audrey. 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • A Series of Unfortunate Events 9 of 15
    A_Series_Of_Unfortunate_Events_poster

    Jim Carrey played dastardly uncle Count Olaf to three orphaned children in 2004's film version of Daniel Handler's Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Ramona and Beezus 10 of 15
    Ramona_and_Beezus_Poster

    This 2010 update of Beverly Cleary's Ramona series features Joey King and Selena Gomez as 8 year-old Ramona and big sister Beezus. Released in 1955, the book Beezus and Ramona (yes. the movie title switched the order of names) kicked off the adventures of Ramona and her family, the Quimbys, and friends like Henry Huggins, Beezus's love interest in this film.

    Ramona and Beezus, the film, is said to focus mostly on events from Ramona Forever, the seventh book in the series. 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Freaky Friday 11 of 15
    Freaky_friday_poster

    Some of us grew up with Jodi Foster and Barbara Harris as Annabel and Ellen Andrews, the daughter and mother who mysteriously switch bodies for an entire hilarious day in the film adaptation of Mary Rodgers's 1972 novel Freaky Friday. The update in 2003 featured Lindsay Lohan as Anna Coleman and Jamie Lee Curtis as Tess Coleman -- different names, same freaky switch situation. 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • The Wizard of Oz 12 of 15
    419px-WIZARD_OF_OZ_ORIGINAL_POSTER_1939

    Sometimes the film is so iconic, it's hard to tell where the book left off and it began. The Wizard of Oz is a classic film, but it's very much based on a well-loved novel of the same name by L. Frank Baum. You know the drill -- Kansas cyclone, a house dropped down in an Emerald City, where a little girl named Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, travels with a strange crew of friends to meet with a wizard who is said to be able to send her home.

    Other adaptations of Baum's Oz novels have hit big and small screens, as well as the stage, most recently in this year's film, Oz the Great and Powerful.  

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • 101 Dalmations 13 of 15
    One_hundred_and_one_dalmatians_ver2

    In case anyone missed the animated version of villainous Cruella DeVille, Glenn Close brought her impeccably to life in this 1996 live action Walt Disney Pictures version of the story -- s0 many black-and-white-spotted dogs saved from an uncertain fate at her hands. Disney's animated 1961 version of Dodie Smith's novel 101 Dalmations remains charming, so if you haven't seen (and heard) Pongo and Perdita and their many, many puppies, check either of these films out.

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Curious George 14 of 15
    Curious_George_Poster

    This 2006 animated version of the classic book by H.A. and Margret Rey featured the voices of Will Ferrell, Drew Barrymore, Eugene Levy, Joan Plowright, and Frank Welker as the monkey who's pretty much always in some kind of comical trouble. 

    Image credit: Wikimedia

  • Mary Poppins 15 of 15
    mary-poppins

    Arguably the most famous film nanny in history, Mary Poppins first lived in the pages of P.L. Travers Mary Poppins series. Julie Andrews won an Academy Award for her portrayal of a woman with a bottomless purse and an enormous umbrella, in charge of the Banks children and pal to Dick van Dyke's chimney sweep, Bert. As ever, Mary "shall stay until the wind changes." 

 

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