OK, so ‘The Giver’ was a disappointment. Here are three terrific movie adaptations of beloved books for young people.
‘A Little Princess’ (1995)
Long before “Gravity,” or even “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban,” filmmaker Alfonso Cuaron made this adaptation of the 1905 Frances Hodgson Burnett novel. It’s an enchanting, moving tale of a little girl who becomes a heroine — and it’s lovely to look at (Oscar-nominated for both cinematography and art direction).
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This stop-motion-animation version of Neil Gaiman’s book has an eerie, beautiful whimsy to it. Seven years in the making, Henry Selick’s story of a girl who discovers a strange new world is a wonderfully imaginative thrill ride for any age. (I still remember the cat who replied, when asked why he could talk, “I just can” — and still expect my cat to, one day, say the same.)
‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ (2012)
Perhaps author Stephen Chbosky was worried about his book losing its soul in the transition to the screen — or perhaps he just always wanted to direct. Regardless, Chbosky took the unusual step of writing and directing the film version himself, and clearly he knew what he was doing; the result is a sweet, hopeful tale about the adventure of growing up.
Moira Macdonald, Seattle Times arts writer