Adapt This!

I read quite a bit. It’s a luxury I have since I usually work about 20 hours a week (sometimes even less), don’t have kids, have very few friends, and am a huge nerd. This month has mostly been occupied by Sundance, a trip to Albequerque, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles, but I also had a chance to read a few picture books for a children’s book club I belong to.

One of those books, The Curious Garden, gave me an idea for the blog. I love adaptations. I don’t see what’s not to love. If you enjoy a story and enjoy the way that story is told than it seems natural that you might want to see how that story is told in the hands of another artist. I’ll be the first to admit that most adaptations are problematic. But if you can avoid trying to compare the two sources by deciding which is better, adaptations always offer points of discussion.

Unfortunately, I am the least talented person I know, and won’t be able to do the adapting myself. (Plus, I’m poor and it will take a lot of money to acquire the rights to the stuff I read) So this is a monthly – I hope – call to all those talented artists out there to adapt the things I like. Take these stories and spin them into cinematic gold. Please.

On with the show.

The Curious Garden (by Peter Brown) is the story of a little ginger boy who finds a small patch of greenery struggling to grow on an abandoned train track. The boy does the best he can to make his little garden flourish and soon the once grey and industrious city is overrun with beautiful, colorful plant life.

It’s a simple idea, but one that I think might be well-received in a culture becoming increasingly environmentally aware. And even though weeds don’t often look this pretty, the gardening aspects of the story are inspirational.

The art is wonderful. Kind of a 50s throwback:

I think a film version could work great as a short, animated piece. But, as Spike Jonze showed with Where the Wild Things Are, stories in picture books can be expanded – incorporating the same themes – into something really new and thoughtful.

So…you aspiring filmmakers…go out there and make me this movie. But be sure to ask Peter Brown nicely, first.


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Filed under Adapt This, Whitney

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