I'd never heard of this book until recently when the movie was shown on TV here in Australia. We saw the trailer and liked the look of it, so we recorded the movie for our girls to watch sometime. I also looked the book up and found it in our local library. I think it's always nice to read a book before seeing a movie. Books have more detail in them and it lets you create the pictures for the story in your own imagination.
We were also looking for a new book to read together as a family, and this seemed to fit the bill well.
The book is a best-seller, won the Newberry Medal in 1978, and is studied in English study classes around the world.
Here's the trailer we saw for the movie:
After watching this, I expected an adventure story set in a magical world. However, when we started to read the book, we found this wasn't exactly what the book was about.
The book tells of a friendship that develops between a boy and girl, around 10 or 11 years old. It explores school life, bullying, family relationships, imagination as a form of escape, and also death.
Although the book was totally different to what we had expected, we all really enjoyed it. We took turns reading chapters. At one stage I had to hand the book to my elder daughter to finish the chapter as I was crying at the story and couldn't speak!
After finishing the book, we then watched the movie. As always there was the discussion about the parts that had been left out, and the extra little bits that were added, but overall we enjoyed it.
Our eldest daughter said afterwards she preferred reading the book as you get to know what the characters are thinking as well as saying. I agree with this!
I would definitely recommend this book as a great read for kids (ours are 8 and 10 years old and it was perfect for them).