5 books I’d like to see as movies – #5

The final post in this series also happens to be a shout-out to my classmate Maureen, who is a huge fan of this book. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales is an interesting twist on the fairy tale genre, much along the lines of Shrek. It predates the movie substantially though--The Stinky Cheese Man was first published in 1992.

For those of you who haven’t yet had the pleasure of reading Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith’s hilarious book, The Stinky Cheese Man is narrated by Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk fame), who tells familiar-yet-untraditional versions of classic stories. These include “Chicken Licken,” “Little Red Running Shorts,” and “The Really Ugly Duckling.” Throughout the book he’s interrupted by Little Red Hen, who complains both about the fact that nobody’s helping her make her bread and that she doesn’t have her own story in the book.

Much like Shrek and its crazy cast of fairy tale misfits, The Stinky Cheese Man‘s references to some of our favourite stories and characters are what made it so relatable to kids and adults alike.

I think it has the potential to find a whole new generation of fans and become a movie of giant proportions. And I think Jack would have to agree.

5 books I’d like to see as movies – #4

Was anyone else like me and completely loved–yet was also a little afraid of–Miss Nelson is Missing? I know it’s meant for small children, but Miss Viola Swamp was mean. And scary!

I must admit, I’d actually forgotten all about this book until I saw it on display in Chapters last weekend. However, as soon as I saw that unmistakable cover (which I’m happy to report still looks the same as it did 15 years ago!), I remembered just how entertaining this book and its sequels were. I think it would make a really fun mystery movie for the 6-10 year old set, and would give them the chance to see something a little edgier than their usual Disney fare.

Plus, what actress wouldn’t love the dual role of Miss Nelson/Miss Swamp? I could see someone like Rachel McAdams having a really great time with this.

Who would be your ideal lead actress for Miss Nelson is Missing: The Movie? Please leave a comment and let me know!

5 books I’d like to see as movies – #3

The Paper Bag Princess is my favourite Robert Munsch book. Reasons why it would make a great movie: it’s smart, it’s funny, it has a dragon, and it has one kick-ass female lead/moral. Think Kill Bill meets Shrek meets My Best Friend’s Wedding. Just imagine what Dreamworks or Pixar could do with a flesh-out version of the story. We could see how Elizabeth and Ronald met and why she decided to marry him in the first place. Elizabeth could send the dragon on even more challenges, and we could even get a glimpse of Elizabeth living happily ever after. Independently, of course.

Not many of Munsch’s books can be easily stretched into a 90 minute movie. The Paper Bag Princess may just be the exception to that rule.

5 books I’d like to see as movie – #2

Before  Twilight was even a glimmer in Stephanie Meyer’s eye, there was another YA book about vampires (I sure there were actually many, but this is one of my favourites, so I’m going to go with it). In the Forest of the Night is everything Twilight is not: well-written, interesting, and delightfully spooky. Also, unlike that other one, which only seems like it was written by a 14-year-old girl, In the Forests of the Night was written by an actual 14 year old. And an intelligent, talented one at that. Amelia Atwater-Rhodes’ tale of a shape-shifting vampire and her bloody history would work incredibly well as a movie. It’s dark, but not too dark, and the universe of characters Atwater-Rhodes created is deep enough (250 and counting for this book and its spin-offs) for multiple sequels. Plus is would show those Twi-hards how real teenage vampires do it. Sans sparkles.

5 books I’d like to see as movies

With the hype building for the March 5th release of Tim Burton’s adaptation of Alice in Wonderland, I started thinking about some other books I’d like to see on the big screen. Over my next few posts, I’ll be listing my top 5, in no particular order. Here’s the first:

Sideways Stories From Wayside School by Louis Sachar is another of my absolute favourites. The quirky cast of characters is like no other, as is the story of  school that was mistakenly built 30 stories high with a classroom on each floor, rather than one story high with 30 classrooms next to each other. It’s hard to explain a book about dead rats living in the basement, trips to the non-existent 19th floor (and its equally non-existent cast of characters led by teacher Miss Zarves), a teacher who turns students into apples with a wiggle of her ears, and child-flavoured ice cream (each student tastes different!). Suffice it to say, Wayside School is nothing short of absurd–and fantastic.

While the book has already been turned into a cartoon for Nickelodeon (something I did not know until very recently),  I’m actually surprised the success of Sachar’s Holes in both book and film form didn’t get the ball rolling for a Wayside movie.

Something I’m hoping for: A live-action version of the book. While I’m sure the cartoon is great, I think the book would work even better as a live action movie, with real people grounding the absurdity of the storylines.

Books we fell in love with

I’ve been thinking a little bit this week about what makes us fall in love with books as children. Is it the story? The characters? The illustrations? Or do we somehow just feel an instant connection with certain books? I also wondered if there was a particular book that seemed to be commonly loved among my peers (whose first memories of books would have been somewhere around the late 80s/early 90s). So, I asked a few friends to helped me out and tell me about their favourite book as a child and why. Here are their answers:

Cassandra:
Clifford the Big Red Dog! It was because he was a big red dog. I remember, my mom even got me a stuffed toy which apparently was hard to find at the time…a really long time ago. And I loved dogs.

Daniela:
I LOVED The Very Hungry Caterpillar. I think what attracted me most is the colours (i’m not kidding you) and the big, simple pictures of the things he ate. The words weren’t complicated either. Best damn book!!

Lydia:
I really liked a book called The Busy Garage – the first book I ever read. It’s about a family on their way to the fair when their car breaks down and they have to take it to the mechanic (ahhh, the story of my life). My brother spent days (hours? minutes? It’s hard to measure time when you’re a kid) teaching me how to read it.

Stephanie:
One of my favourite books when I was younger was Red is Best by Kathy Stinson. I think mostly I was jealous that she had red rain boots and I always wanted a pair like that…but, I think I just really thought she was such a cool kid – who could put together wicked outfits, and who understood that parents just didn’t get it.

Morgan:
My favourite book was Summer by Alice Low. The book’s home was my grandmother’s cottage and she would read it to me, my sister, and my cousins every summer. The illustrations are awesome and it talked about everything we did at the cottage – from eating watermelon and s’mores to to cooling off in the water and having water fights. I was the lucky member of the family to swipe this book when the cottage was sold. The cover has fallen off and it is taped together but I will still keep it to read to my children every summer.

Olivia:
My favourite book was Rosie’s Babies by Martin Waddell. I liked it because my Mom used to read it to me every night! Plus she got it for me because I looked like Rosie!

Me:
My favourite book as a young child was Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee (who also happens to be one of the founders of House of Anansi). It’s a book of absurd poems, and I loved it because it was just so much fun. I remember being young enough to not really understand the concept of alligator pie and why it was so strange, but the way Lee strung together language so playfully made me love it regardless.

Though my little poll is by no means scientific, I think it does say something about the books we love. They’re all different–and we love them for different reasons–but they still manage to stick with us for years after we outgrow bedtime stories.

What about you? What was your favourite book when you were younger? Do you remember why you fell in love with it? Leave a comment and share your memories!

The return of the Baby-Sitters Club

Are you a Kristy, a Claudia, a Mary Anne or a Stacey? If you’re like millions of twenty-somethings who grew up on Ann M. Martin’s prolific Baby-Sitters Club series, you can probably answer that question quickly, with evidence and justification, all these years later.

Me? I’m a Mary Anne with a little Kristy thrown in, who wishes she was more like Stacey.

As someone who spent much of my preteen years racing through the 200+ of books in the series, including Super Specials, Mysteries, Baby-Sitters Little Sister, and California Diaries spin-offs, I was embarrassingly excited to hear about Scholastic’s plans to reissue the series. Set to begin in April 2010, the reissue will include updated versions of the first two books, as well as a brand new prequel titled The Summer Before.

From a marketing perspective, this makes near-perfect sense. Here’s my math: The original series ran from 1986-2000. The oldest readers–ten-year-olds who started reading the series in 1986–would be in their mid-thirties by now, right around when they might have 7-10 year old daughters of their own. By reissuing the series now, Scholastic can take advantage of the nostalgia of former BCS fans who will pick up the book for their preteen daughters, nieces, and family friends. If it works as planned, this will continue as younger readers of the original series start to have their preteens to shop for, allowing the reissue to continue for years to come.

There’s a big if here though. Will today’s generation of preteens–raised on Twilight, Miley Cyrus, YouTube, and sexting–latch onto something as safe as the Baby-Sitters Club? And even if they do, will they have the attention spans to follow a series made up of so many books? It’ll be interesting to see what happens in April when it all comes back to life.

In the meantime, I’d like to petition for an adult follow-up to the series that revisits the characters as young adults. It would be the stuff my chick lit dreams are made of.