Through Space and Time

pi in the skyI just finished reading Wendy Mass’ latest book, Pi in the Sky. I have not decided if I like the book or not. Some parts confused me, but other parts about beings who oversee our universe and are responsible for keeping the planets in orbit kept me reading. There is a space/time element in the book as well.

magic halfI started thinking about books I have read where characters travel through time to a different reality, and the character’s world is still running in a parallel universe, so the space-time continuum is disrupted. I kind of like the circular thinking of a person returning to the past, disrupting an event that occurred, and then meeting up again in present day a la Back to the Future. It has the ability to blow your mind if you really concentrate on the whole concept of time. Here are a few book choices that deal with dropping in and out of time.

george washingtons socks

  • Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farmer– This is for a more sophisticated reader. The language and vocabulary is more difficult, and the story pace can be slow. I like this book, though.
  • Children of the Red King, Charlie Bone and the Time Twister by Jenny Nimmo– Many people list this as a Harry Potter read-alike. This book is the second in the series.
  • The Devil’s Arithmetic by Jane Yolen– Holocaust alert!
  • George Washington’s Socks by Elvira Woodruff– If you are a fan of Magic Treehouse. This is like a Magic Treehouse for an older reader. Woodruff has companion books too.
  • The Gideon Trilogy, The Time Travelers by Linda Buckley-Archer– I loved the first book; I could not finish the sequel.
  • The Magic Half by Annie Barrows– My favorite time travel book.
  • North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler– Found this because I love the author’s Emily Windsnap series so much.
  • Teddy Powers: The Stone Keepers by Anne Todd– This is a self-published book by a parent at my school. My students (and Mr. Star Wars) love this book. It is available on Amazon.
  • The 13th Reality, The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner– This book can be slow in parts, but the concept of parallel lives existing at the same time held my interest.
  • The Wells Bequest: A Companion to the Grimm Legacy by Polly Shulman– I really liked the Grimm Legacy, so you may want to read both books.
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead– This book is so much better if you are familiar with A Wrinkle in Time.
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle– One of the originals for this type of science fiction (in my opinion).

teddy powersI am trying to remember the name of a book I read as a child about a character who would walk down a foggy street and be transported back in time. I think the setting of the story was London. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Please help me out with a title if you read this book too!

Book v. Movie

chitty chitty car

I read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang this summer by Ian Fleming of James Bond fame. It is the only children’s book that Ian Fleming wrote, and there are many James Bond influences in the book. Chitty has all kinds of cool car gadgets, and the Potts family gets involved in catching a group of gangsters. What? You don’t remember gangsters in the Dick Van Dyke movie version of Chitty?

chitty chitty bang bangOther than a car named Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and a father who is an inventor, there is very little resemblance between the movie and the book. There are so many movies-based-on-books that barely refer back to the original text. Here are a few book/movie combinations that I disliked, and others that I do like. How do you feel about favorite books that are made into movies?

mr poppers penguins

The movie is nothing like the book.

  • Chitty, Chitty, Bang Bang by Ian Feming— Reviews of the 1968 movie do say “loosely based” on the book. Here is a little nugget of trivia; Roald Dahl wrote the script for the movie. When I learned about Dahl, the creepy child catcher made a lot more sense to me.
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater— Critics call the Jim Carrey version of the movie an updated interpretation. If by updated, they mean take every part of the book and do the opposite, they did a good job.
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett— Here is my review of the movie: stupid. Apparently, I am the only one who feels this way. The movie was so successful, there is a sequel coming soon.
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien— At least the movie producers had the decency to change the name for the movie to The Secret of NIMH. The whole intelligent rats who have a conscience about stealing (irony) and create a plan, so they no longer steal electricity is pretty fantastical. Why did the movie have to throw a magic stone into the mix?

charlie and the chocolate factory

Don’t miss reading the book, but the movies are good too.

  • Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis— Movies released in 2005, 2008, 2010. I still have fond memories of the animated version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe from 1979.
  • Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl— I like both the Gene Wilder and Johnny Depp versions. The Johnny Depp version is truer to the book.
  • Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White— I think everyone loves the animated film from 1973.
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum— Judy Garland movie from 1939. I have not seen the recent Oz movie released in 2013.
  • How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee— It is hard to fault Gregory Peck.

freaky friday

The movie resembles the book (more or less), but I would not recommend seeing the movie.

  • Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks— Movie released in 1995, the Omri character is too irritating.
  • Tale of Despereaux by Kate DeCamillo— Movie released in 2008, Sigourney Weaver narrated.
  • Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers— Movie released in 2003 with Jamie Lee Curtis was bad. My memory of the 1976 movie with Jodie Foster is good. I may need to watch the earlier movie again.
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton— I have not see the 1997 version with John Goodman. I took my children to see the Secret World of Arrietty released in 2010 and promptly fell asleep.

black stallion

Here are some that are up for debate at our house:

  • The Black Stallion by Walter Farley— TheRoomDad loved this movie as a child. My memory is a movie that was looong and boring.
  • The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford— I think I would like Homeward Bound released in 1993 better if I did not know about the book and the original animals and setting.