These days, many of the movies being produced are based on popular children and teen books. These movies provide a great opportunity to teach your child
how to compare different media forms. After all, a book and a movie tell the exact same story in very different ways. By both reading the book and watching the movie with your child, you can have an interesting discussion that will push your child to think past just the basic plot of the book.
Compare the Characters
A casting crew and the director may have differing views as to what the characters should be like in the movie. The actors chosen may be very similar or very different from the characters described in the book. Here are some questions you can ask your child to compare the characters.
- How does the book describe the main character?
- Do you think the actor who plays this character was a good choice for the part? Why or why not?
- Are there any characters who are very different from the book characters?
- Were any main characters left out of the movie?
Compare the Plot
One of the main ways that a book and movie differ is in their lengths. A book can be hundreds of pages long, but a movie has to be limited to about 90 minutes at most. Because of this, the director has to choose scenes from the book that are left out of the movie. Use the following questions to start conversations that compare the book plot to the movie plot.
- Did the movie have the same basic storyline as the book? What was different?
- Were there parts of the book that were left out of the movie? What were they?
- Why do you think the director chose to leave out those scenes? Do you think it was a good decision?
- What scenes would you have left out? Why?
This is also a perfect time to discuss the differences between reading a book and watching a movie for your child. Try to help your child see that both reading and watching have benefits in their own ways.
- Which did you like better, the book or the movie? Why?
- Was the movie easier to understand because you read the book first?
- What are some things that would be hard about turning a book into a movie?
If you need help choosing a book and movie to start with, wikipedia.org has a list of children’s books that have been turned into movies for you to look through and choose from. Not only does this exercise provide an opportunity to compare books and movies, it can also act as an encouragement to children who may not enjoy reading as much. The promise of a movie night after they finish the book can be a big motivator.