Kids-book-to-movie adaptations and multiple textual traditions

This post is dedicated to anyone who has ever watched a film adaptation of a book and has said, “That’s not what happens in the book!” Take a deep breath. Textual multiplicity often precipitates violence, but it doesn’t have to!

Our family watches a fair amount of television and movies. My son, Cædmon, and my daughter, Esther, enjoy watching shows like Daniel Tiger and Thomas the Train, and, when I can persuade them, they’ll join me in watching an NPR Tiny Desk Concert or a short film on Vimeo.

I worry, though, that their little imaginations are being overrun by the powerful images of the screen. So, for example, Cædmon doesn’t just pretend that he is a robot; he pretends that he is Wall-E. An undersea adventure can’t happen without Nemo making an appearance, and a song can’t be sung that doesn’t reference (if only obliquely) the musical world of Daniel Tiger or Mary Poppins.

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