Kids' Stuff

Expectations for the forthcoming "Harry Potter" novel may be sky high, but JK Rowling isn't the first best-selling children's novelist to make the journey from bookshelf to big screen...

The Grinch (2000)
The Book: Theodor Seuss Geisel, aka Dr Seuss, won a place in American hearts forever with his 1957 cartoon book, about the Whos of Whoville and a black-hearted green thing.
The Film: Jim Carrey is decked out in more green than the Kennedy clan on St Patrick's Day for this faithful retelling of the Seuss tale, directed by Ron Howard. Carrey's prosthetics took three hours every day to apply, but if you were getting $20 million plus a cut of the merchandising, you'd put up with it too.

Stuart Little (1999)
The Book: Written in 1945, "Stuart Little" was the first of New Yorker columnist EB White's kids' books ("Charlotte's Web" followed in 1952).
The Film: Rob Minkoff's CGI spectacular features the voice of Michael J Fox and the cutsiest-wutsiest mouse imaginable (love that red jumper!). The overwhelming taste of saccharine is lessened slightly by Nathan Lane's bitter and twisted family cat, Snowball. Look out for the sequel next summer.

The Indian in the Cupboard (1995)
The Book: The first in a series of much-loved kids' books by Lynne Reid Banks, this 1981 novel spawned three equally popular sequels.
The Film: Directed by Frank Oz (aka Yoda), the film stars American moppet Hal Scardino as the kid who receives the magical cupboard. Anyone looking for tips on how to kill a potential franchise with one average movie? Here's where to look.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Book: Roald Dahl's 1964 classic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" is about a humble kid who wins a trip to a decidedly non-union workplace. A sequel, "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator", was published eight years later.
The Film: First mistake in this adaptation: changing the title. Second mistake: casting Gene Wilder in the title role. Third mistake: awful songs - "(I've Got a) Golden Ticket"! The film's got a cult following, but then, so have the Moonies. The kid who played Charlie, Peter Ostrum, turned down a five picture deal and became a veterinarian.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1968)
The Book: Initially published over three volumes between 1964-65, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" was written by 007 creator Ian Fleming - when James Bond was at the peak of his powers.
The Film: Aussie actor Robert Helpmann became the stuff of nightmares for children after playing the Child Catcher. Unfortunately, so did Dick Van Dyck, playing Caractacus Potts. Producer Cubby Broccoli continued the 007 theme, but Barbara Windsor's appearance was definitely the closest she got to playing a Bond girl.

Want to see other successful kids' books on the big screen? Try the following: "Tom's Midnight Garden" (2000); "The Borrowers" (1997); "The Wind in the Willows" (1996); "101 Dalmatians" (1996); "James and the Giant Peach" (1996); "Matilda" (1996); "The Secret Garden" (1993); and "Charlotte's Web" (1973).

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