At bedtime tonight we read the final chapter, and epilogue, of “Ella Enchanted“, which is a Newbery Award winner by Gail Carson Levine. For anyone not familiar, it’s sort of a twist on the traditional Cinderella story. Ella is a girl of some station, who was given the “gift” of obedience as an infant. The story tells how she handles this gift through her mother’s death, her father’s re-marriage, and her two step sisters. There is even a pumpkin coach and glass slippers, along with the midnight deadline. But we don’t encounter those until late in the story, and to me it was more a wink than a plot device.
The book has been turned into a movie, which we’ll probably rent. We did the same when we finished reading “Because of Winn Dixie” not too long ago, and I was happy to see how closely that one followed the story (only a small diversion near the end).
As a reader, I always think the book is better than the movie. I remember reading “Prince of Tides” years ago and loving it. I watched the movie, and I swore if I hadn’t read the book I would have had no idea what was going on. I was distressed when it was first announced that the Harry Potter books were being made into movies. I’ve still not actually seen any of those, although I own (and have read) all the books. I think particularly with children’s literature, it becomes too convenient to skip reading the book altogether. After all, it’s a lot faster to watch a 2 hour movie than sit for many more hours and read. We need to encourage kids to read, not take shortcuts!
We’ve read, and loved:
- Charlotte’s Web
- Because of Winn Dixie
- Ella Enchanted
- All the Junie B. Jones books (I am not a fan of Junie B. Jones as a character, and I find the writing style more appropriate for parents to read to children, rather than beginning readers to read themselves)
- All the Magic Treehouse books
Any other quality children’s chapter books to recommend? I wonder if Krystal would like some of my childhood favorites: Julie of the Wolves, A Wrinkle in Time, or even the Chronicles of Narnia (another series they had to go and make movies about!).
I feel the same way about movies from books. (Look at what Disney did to EVERYTHING!) You should try to find “Paper Bag Princess.” It’s not a chapter book, but it’s an excellent antidote for all the happily ever after stuff.
You can always try the books you loved – if she doesn’t like them, just put them away for later. She may be ready for the “Little House on the Prairie” series or even Anne of Green Gables. On second thoughts, you want to wait a couple of years on the Anne books – lots of heartbreaking stuff in those. And there’s always the Winnie the Pooh stories, but they may be too young for her now.
Ella Enchanted looks really fun – I didn’t even realize it was a book. (We’re still in preschool reading stuff – Dr. Seuss is very popular in our house.) The ONLY book I ever read that I preferred the movie over was “Field of Dreams” (title of the book was something else that I can’t even remember).
Oh, we have “Paper Bag Princess” – I LOVE it!! “Ronald, your clothes are really pretty and your hair is very neat. You look like a real prince, but you are a bum.” Love it, love it, love it. Actually, we’re huge Robert Munsch fans in this house anyway – “Stephanie’s Ponytail” and “Smelly Socks” are still on regular rotation here. I also love that a lot of his books feature girls as smart, strong characters, and families are diverse.
I didn’t even know Field of Dreams was a book first, but that is one of my favorite movies.