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!).