Long years ago, our family decided on a "rule" - really more of a tradition - for our home: We would never go to see a book-based movie before we read the book. We have stuck to this through thick and thin. Some books have become read aloud favorites. Some were individual reads. It didn't matter; from LOTR to Pooh, we read the book first. We had a child for whom reading was tough. He was so proud when he finished The Hobbit before the movie debuted. I had offered to read it with him, or even to get the audio version...but he was ready for the challenge, and the movie just provided the impetus.
Ultimately this tradition leads to a lot of conversation, sometimes heated! (Full disclosure: everything seems to lead to a lot of conversation at our house...sometimes heated. We tend to be opinionated!) I hope that our discussions help them think more about the literature, as well as the movie:
- "On a scale of 1-10, how faithful was the movie to the book, and did that disappoint us or inspire us?"
- "Did the characters and settings 'look' the way you had imagined? Was there anything about the characters or setting in the book that you think would just have been impossible to replicate in a movie? How did they handle that?"
- " Why did the director/screenwriter/producer choose to leave out some scenes, include new things, change our favorite parts about the book?"
- "Was there an angle or theme in the book that was exaggerated or focused on in the movie? Why, do you think? Is that fair to the original?"
- "How different can a movie and book BE before it is no longer 'based on the book...'? What is the difference between 'based on' and 'inspired by'?"
- "Which did you like better - the book or the movie? Will you read the book again? Will you want to watch the movie again?"
This is one family tradition that I feel entirely comfortable recommending as a success, especially now that my grown kids are keeping up the tradition. Here is a link to the six-story (5 volume) Mary Poppins original books by P.J. Travers. Whether you just begin your Mary Poppins adventures before December, or manage to make your way through all 1,000 pages, these classics are a sure hit!
Especially with THIS post...Not All Rigor is Mortis -