Posts Tagged ‘David Almond’

As I’m sure you might agree, books that have been made into movies can have a rather spotty success rate. In my experience, rarely has a movie based on a book been as fulfilling as the book itself though there certainly have been some, and a few surprisingly good at that. There also have been some disastrous movies that had I not read the book first would have dissuaded me from ever reading it. But what about children’s books?

Skellig-DavidAlmondI recently took the plunge and watched movies based on two of my very favorite children’s books, both middle grade – Skellig by David Almond and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. That the Skellig movie had to add on a tag after the title – “the Owl Man” – should have been my first tip off, but I was open.  David Almond is a brilliant writer and won the Printz Award for this particular novel. One of the things that sets him apart is the sense of the unexpected, of magic, that he brings to everything he writes. Where this movie failed for me is that in attempting to reach its audience it felt it necessary to define and explain the unexplainable. The beauty of Skellig the novel was that you were left at the end still not knowing who – or what – Skellig was. Was he a man? both man and bird? an angel? The reader never knows. In the movie, he is more or less defined. And then there were several hokey, (to me anyway), visual machinations, such as Skelling taking Michael for a ride on his back while he flies, and in two instances a kind of spinning in the air where he heals Michael’s hand and later the baby sister. Plus the movie barely touches upon the wonderful and unique character of Mina and her relationship with Michael , nor of that with his friends. In sum, there were interesting things about the movie, but as a reflection of the novel, Skellig the movie fell far short for me.

AWrinkleinTime-MLEngleA Wrinkle in Time fared a bit better in my estimation, but again, the movie couldn’t really compare to the book. I think the movie did a pretty good job of showing the characters of Meg and Charles Wallace, and I enjoyed Alfre Woodard as Mrs. Whatsit, Alison Elliott as Mrs. Who and Kate Nelligan as Mrs. Which. The visuals of the children traveling through the tesseract to get to the different planets couldn’t have had too many ways to show it, I suppose, but it was a stretch. The interesting thing about this movie, made in 2003, is that it was a made-for-TV movie. I suspect it could have been more successful if actually made as a true movie. A Wrinkle in Time, like Skellig, raises bigger issues than the surface story,  in this case, an adventure to save the children’s father. It’s a coming of age story for Meg but also asks what’s most important in life and how can evil be overcome. I think the movie did a very good job of making that clear, especially in the scene where Meg is able to pull Charles Wallace back from the tenacious evil of It. What I particularly enjoyed is that in the Bonus Features that were on the DVD there is an interview with the late Madeleine L’Engle. That alone may have been worth getting the DVD.

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Surprise! It’s books! Hardcover, too!

With the annual Hunterdon County Library Book Sale just around the corner, (details here, if you want to go – you won’t be sorry), and with a decent size stash still waiting to be read, I almost … that’s almost, but not totally … don’t feel entitled to purchase brand new books. But alas, it is one of two indulgences I’ve allowed myself in this life, (the other being music), and so the books arrived. If you are reading this post currently, you will see them to the right. If you visit this blog regularly, you will note there are always two books there – one a novel, be it adult, YA or MG, and the other a book of an enlightening, metaphysical/spiritual nature. And so goes my reading. Picture books go too fast to even warrant a spot, but I may write about them here.

How to Save A Life kept popping up at me from different places and sounded terrific, so I got it. More on that when I read it. And then, while flipping channels last week, I came to a halt on Wayne Dyer and a PBS special, Wishes Fulfilled, also the title of the book. He is so on the money, and who doesn’t want their highest good manifested? So I’m starting on that, too.

But first, a word on Click. While waiting for said package to arrive, I felt drawn to read this again. It is a continuing story told chapter by chapter by different authors from the USA and the UK, each highly accomplished. It’s a great concept with each new chapter a revelation that could only result in the story being told this way. It starts off with Linda Sue Park, and then continues Chapter 2* with David Almond, one of my favorite authors. His chapter was so amazing and magical, I could have stopped right there. But I’m more than halfway through and want to enjoy the rest before I start my new choice.

In addition to these wonderful authors bringing the tale of Grandpa Gee, photographer and worldwide traveler, his family and those he encounters in his journeys to life, they have also contributed their book sale proceeds from Click to Amnesty International to save a few lives themselves.

*Here is a quote from Chapter 2 of Click by David Almond:

“I’m Annie Lumsden, and I live with my mum in a house above the jetsam line on Stupor Beach. I’m thirteen years old and growing fast. I have hair that drifts like seaweed when I swim. I have eyes that shine like rock pools. My ears are like scallop shells. The ripples on my skin are like the ripples on the sand when the tide has turned back again. At night I gleam and glow like sea beneath the stars and moon. Thoughts dart and dance inside like little minnows in the shallows. They race and flash like mackerel farther out. My wonderings roll in the deep like sails. Dreams dive each night into the dark like dolphins do and break out happy and free into the morning light. These are the things I know about myself and that I see when I look in the rock pools at myself.”    — David Almond

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