Read it Before You See it!
2011 is going to be a great year for kids movies... because it seems like they're all based on books! So while the Potter-files count down the clock until Harry and Voldemort's final duel, and Twihards breathlessly await Bella and Edward's wedding, here are some other books that have been adapted to to sate your literary viewing needs.
Due out this February is THE EAGLE, based on Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth. For ages 10 and up, this historical novel is the perfect read for that kid who's obsessed with military history. Set in Roman occupied Britain, this book has it all: action, historical detail, unlikely friendship and adventure. Sutcliff based most of her setting detail on archeological findings, and she is thusly able to sneak in a little history lesson while weaving her complicated tale of pride, redemption and bravery. Oh, and bonus! If you love The Eagle of the Ninth, don't fret! Sutcliff wrote an entire series of novels set in the Anglo-Roman era!
Also out in February is the sci-fi / action / thriller I Am Number Four, based on the Pittacus Lore novel by the same name. Some know Pittacus as Lorien's ruling elder, others know him as James Frey. Whoever this Pittacus is, he's penned the most popular YA sci fi / action novel since Suzanne Collins' runaway hit, The Hunger Games, and I am Number Four is sure to appeal to that same crowd. So track down a bullet proof vest, find a safe vantage point and get amped for the most explosive teen title on the scene, appropriate for ages 14 and up.
If the previous two titles promise a few more battle scenes than you're interested in, then get excited, because coming out this August is the most adorable story about penguins ever to get the Newbery Honor Award. Mr. Popper's Penguins, written by Richard and Florence Atwater, is the wholesome and hilarious tale of a humble house painter with grand dreams of Arctic exploration. When his favorite adventurer sends Mr. Popper a penguin, he embarks on an unforgettable tale of penguin husbandry and circus performances. Though the movie casts Mr. Popper as a successful New York business man instead of a house painter, it still promises all the hijinks and preciousness that only penguins could provide. Appropriate to read aloud to kids ages 4 and up, or else on their own ages 6/7 and up.