Children’s Classics: Books vs. Movies | Nostalgia Corner

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For a lot of us, books were a huge part of our childhood. In fact, reading was such an essential part of being a kid that now as adults, we don’t even do it anymore. It would ruin our memories.

Nahh, I’m only kidding. Growing up is a busy thing to do, and we just can’t fit reading into our schedules anymore. But I still love reading as much as I did growing up, and recently, I decided to both read and watch some of my favorite children’s classics to see if they still held up. So many of our favorite kids books were made into movies that even if you didn’t like reading, you’d definitely still recognize these titles.

(Except for The Giving Tree. I don’t why they never made a movie out of that. Thank God, though. Can you imagine?)

My trip down nostalgia bookshelf brought out some pretty…interesting results. Check them out.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

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Yeesh, starting off strong, aren’t we? This movie was true to its source material, all right. It literally starts out with Mr. Popper being divorced. Because that’s exactly how the book was!

Yeah, this movie didn’t stand a chance. The book is so beloved by a ton of people that it was pretty much hopeless the second it was greenlighted. And even as a stand alone film, it doesn’t work well. I mean, I think it’s supposed to be a comedy, but I didn’t laugh once. The book, however, had me dying of laughter every chapter. Point goes to the book.

Winner: Book

The Wizard of Oz

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Don’t murder me, L. Frank Baum fans…but point goes to the movie for this one.

I mean, the book is great. It really is. It’s a fun read, filled with enchantment, and is a classic. It’s one of those books where you have to read it even if you’ve seen the movie, because the movie deviates from it so much.

But…the movie’s just a treasure. A timeless treasure. I’ve talked multiple times (here and here) about how much I love it. It’s just perfect and flawless and one of the best movies of all time. A combination of great performances, great songs, and make it an essential watch for the ages. It’s even better when you realize it was made before the time of CGI and special effects. Those are all real effects and sets you see there, people!

And the movie’s got Judy Garland. How can I say no to Judy Garland?

Winner: Movie

Winnie the Pooh

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Oh boy. Where do I begin with this one?

I feel like logically, I should say the movies. The movies are better remembered. When you think Winnie the Pooh, you don’t think A.A. Milne’s illustrations, you think the Disney character. I don’t even think people realize Winnie the Pooh was based off a book nowadays.

But…the books still hold a special place in my heart. Especially Now We Are Six. They’re all just so charming and adorable and have the best illustrations. They bring out this nostalgic feeling in me, and turn me into Citizen Kane, yearning for the innocence and peace of childhood once more. (I even made a post about the books once.)

No winner for this one. It’s a tie.

Winner: Book and Movie

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

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This one actually got made into two movies, one in 1971 and another in 2005. If you’re above the age of 18, you’ve probably seen both. And you probably prefer the 1971 version. I get that. That version does have memorable songs and a killer performance by Gene Wilder. But for my money…I prefer the 2005 version.

It’s just closer to the book. I have fond memories of the 1971 version, but the 2005 version was just more fun for me to watch. The 1971 one deviated from the source material a bit too much. Also, the special effects did not age well for the 1971 version. That does not look like a chocolate river – that looks like polluted water.

Winner: 2005 Movie

The NeverEnding Story

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Here’s the thing about The NeverEnding Story movie: it’s not the full story. I guess it was true to its name, because the movie only did the first half of the book. (Can you blame them? The book’s so thick, you’d think Stephen King wrote it.)

So, as awesome as the movie is, I’m going to have to give the book the point here. The second half is just more interesting, and it makes Bastian a more essential character. If you haven’t read the book, I highly recommend you do. It does a great job at extending the NeverEnding Story universe, in a way the movie sequels never did.

Winner: Book


And there you go. Is there a childhood book you loved that I missed? If I did, let me know in the comments below! I might do another one of these!

And let’s pray Hollywood never buys the rights for The Giving Tree. Can you imagine?

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