These days, parents have a plethora of exciting entertainment options for their kids. From thrilling superhero adventures to the imaginative wonders brought to life by Pixar, the choices are endless. But even before the era of movies, there were talented writers who captured the hearts and minds of children with incredible stories, now just a click away.
Not only are these movies based on beloved children’s books incredibly fun and hilarious, but they also have the power to introduce the younger ones to the enchanting world of reading. Experts in child development have emphasized the numerous benefits of reading for kids of all ages, revealing that it not only enhances brain health but also helps develop social skills.
Curious about which book adaptation films are perfect for your little ones? Look no further! Every single movie in our list has been given a G or PG rating, ensuring they are suitable for most children.
So, if you’re on the hunt for fantastic book adaptation movies for your kids, you’ve come to the right place! Get ready to dive into the magical tales of Dr. Seuss or explore the captivating universe of JK Rowling. We’ve gathered an amazing collection of films that will captivate both you and your children. Feel free to add your own suggestions and join in on the excitement of discovering the best movies based on books!
(Note: The most contentious book adaptation movie is not mentioned in this rewritten text.)
1. Harry Potter Franchise
Harry Potter is a super popular film series that’s based on the equally famous novels written by J.K. Rowling. It’s a mix of British and American film-making magic, with Warner Bros. taking charge of distributing the whole shebang. In total, there are eight fantasy films in the main Harry Potter series. But hold on to your broomsticks, because there’s more! There’s a spin-off prequel series in the works, which is set to have a whopping five films. It all kicked off with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in 2016. This new series is the start of a whole media franchise called J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World.
Released: 2001 – 2011
Directed by: Chris Columbus, Alfonso Cuarón, Mike Newell, David Yates
Actors: Danielle Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson
Matilda, played by Mara Wilson, is a really smart kid who unfortunately comes from a family that doesn’t seem to care much about her. Her dad, a loud car dealer played by Danny DeVito, and her neglectful mom, portrayed by Rhea Perlman, are completely oblivious to her amazing intellect. This leaves poor Matilda feeling starved for both knowledge and affection.
Things don’t get much better for Matilda at school either. She has to deal with the terrifying headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, played by Pam Ferris. Miss Trunchbull rules with an iron fist, making everyone’s lives miserable. But little does she know, Matilda has a secret power – she can move things with her mind!
Directed by Danny DeVito himself, this movie from 1996 is a mix of comedy, drama, and fantasy. It received a lot of praise for its captivating story and the impressive performances of the cast. The film explores important themes like resilience, self-empowerment, and the impact of kindness in a world that can be really unfair.
Directed by: Danny DeVito
Actors: Mara Wilson, Danny DeVito, Rhea Perlman
3. Shrek Franchise
The Shrek franchise from DreamWorks Animation is based on William Steig’s picture book Shrek!. It includes four computer-animated films: Shrek (2001), Shrek 2 (2004), Shrek the Third (2007), and Shrek Forever After (2010). There’s also a fifth film planned for release in 2019 or 2020. In 2003, a short 4-D film called Shrek 4-D, originally a theme park ride, was also released.
Released: 2001 – Present
Directed by: Andrew Adamson, Vicky Jenson
Actors: Eddie Murphy, Mike Myers, Cameron Diaz
4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a mesmerizing fantasy film that follows the adventures of four Pevensie siblings – Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. One day, while exploring, they stumble upon a seemingly ordinary wardrobe that turns out to be anything but. This wardrobe serves as their portal into the enchanting world of Narnia.
In Narnia, they team up with the majestic lion Aslan, voiced by Liam Neeson, on a courageous mission to overthrow the wicked White Witch, portrayed by the talented Tilda Swinton. Directed by Andrew Adamson, this film even bagged an Oscar for its outstanding makeup work.
Prepare to be captivated as you embark on this thrilling journey filled with magic, bravery, deceit, and ultimate redemption.
Directed by: Andrew Adamson
Actors: Tilda Swinton, Georgie Henley, Skandar Keynes
5. The Jungle Book
Mowgli, played by Bruce Reitherman, is a young boy who grows up with wolves in the Indian jungle. Unfortunately, his peaceful life is disrupted when the dangerous tiger Shere Khan, portrayed by George Sanders, poses a serious threat. To ensure his safety, Mowgli has no choice but to leave his wolf family behind and set off on a journey to reach the human village.
During his adventure, Mowgli encounters a cast of unforgettable characters. One of his closest companions is Baloo the bear, voiced by Phil Harris, who becomes a dear friend to Mowgli. Additionally, he crosses paths with the hypnotic snake Kaa, brought to life by Sterling Holloway, whose presence adds a whole new layer of excitement and danger to Mowgli’s journey.
Directed by: Wolfgang Reitherman
Actors: Phil Harris, Sebastian Cabot, Louis Prima
6. Mary Poppins
In the heart-warming musical Mary Poppins, we get to see Julie Andrews in the role of Mary, a captivating nanny who possesses magical powers. Mary comes to the aid of the Banks family in London, which consists of Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber), their busy father George (David Tomlinson), and their mother Winifred (Glynis Johns).
With her unique blend of practicality and whimsy, Mary brings about a remarkable transformation in the family’s life. She takes the children on a series of extraordinary adventures, introducing them to a world of fantasy and wonder.
Joining the cast is Dick Van Dyke, who plays the charming chimney sweep, Bert. Together, this talented ensemble brings the story to life. Released in 1964, Mary Poppins was recognized with five Academy Awards, including the well-deserved Best Actress win for Julie Andrews.
Directed by: Robert Stevenson
Actors: Julie Andrews, Dick Van Dyke, Glynis Johns
7. The Princess Diaries
The Princess Diaries takes us into the world of teenage comedy, following the story of Mia Thermopolis, an average high school girl who discovers she is actually a princess. Queen Clarisse Renaldi, Mia’s regal grandmother, reveals this hidden truth. However, Mia’s journey from clumsy teenager to graceful princess isn’t without its fair share of comedic mishaps. As she finds herself torn between two worlds, Mia must make a decision about her future. Director Garry Marshall brings us a delightful and lighthearted film that combines comedy and romance, making it enjoyable for viewers of all ages.
Directed by: Garry Marshall
Actors: Julie Andrews, Anne Hathaway, Héctor Elizondo
8. The Wizard of Oz
The Wizard of Oz is a classic fantasy film that has stood the test of time, showcasing the brilliance of Hollywood’s Golden Age. It tells the story of young Dorothy, played by Judy Garland, who is suddenly swept away from her humble Kansas home by a powerful tornado. To her amazement, she lands in the extraordinary and vibrant Land of Oz. Along her journey, Dorothy is accompanied by three unforgettable characters – the brain-seeking Scarecrow portrayed by Ray Bolger, the heart-longing Tin Man played by Jack Haley, and the courage-seeking Cowardly Lion brought to life by Bert Lahr. Together, they embark on an adventure, following the yellow brick road, with one goal in mind: to meet the mysterious Wizard of Oz, who has the potential to grant their wishes and help Dorothy return home. This remarkable film, which won two Academy Awards, is renowned for its groundbreaking use of Technicolor and its unforgettable musical numbers that have become iconic.
Directed by: Victor Fleming
Actors: Judy Garland, Frank Morgan, Ray Bolger
9. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory
The musical fantasy film, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a poor boy who discovers a golden ticket. This ticket gives him the incredible opportunity to visit the mysterious chocolate factory of the eccentric candy maker, Willy Wonka. Joined by four other children, Charlie enters a whimsical world filled with Oompa-Loompas, edible landscapes, and incredible inventions. However, as they explore deeper into the factory, their flaws become apparent in unexpected ways. Directed by Mel Stuart, this 1971 movie is a beloved adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Directed by: Mel Stuart
Actors: Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Peter Ostrum
10. How to Train Your Dragon
In the animated fantasy film How to Train Your Dragon, we meet Hiccup – a young Viking who doesn’t share his tribe’s enthusiasm for killing dragons. His father, Stoick, who also happens to be the village chieftain, struggles to comprehend Hiccup’s pacifist nature. However, everything changes when Hiccup injures a Night Fury dragon named Toothless during a dragon raid. Instead of eliminating him, Hiccup forges an unexpected bond with Toothless. This extraordinary friendship challenges the strict norms of the village and ultimately transforms their way of life. Directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, the movie earned the prestigious Annie Award for Best Animated Feature.
Directed by: Christopher Sanders, Dean DeBlois
Actors: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler, America Ferrera
The heartwarming film Babe tells the story of a small pig named Babe, who is taken in by Farmer Hoggett. Despite being the underdog, Babe has big dreams that go beyond what the other animals on the farm can understand. He discovers a talent for herding sheep and sets out to challenge societal expectations and redefine what it means to be a pig. Directed by Chris Noonan, this family-friendly comedy-drama won an Academy Award for its impressive visual effects and received multiple nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director. The film expertly combines elements of fantasy with the real-life challenges of farming, creating an engaging story of determination and unexpected heroism.
Directed by: Chris Noonan
Actors: James Cromwell, Magda Szubanski, Hugo Weaving