110 – Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode Two

I’m back to compare the new TV adaptation of Percy Jackson and the Olympians to with its literary source. Episode 2 of the new TV series adapts chapters five through eight of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan. Percy is settling in to life at Hogwarts I MEAN CAMP HALF BLOOD, but he has to deal with bullies, new classes, and trying to figure out just who his dad is.

Listen and find out how many Snapes I awarded this episode. As I mentioned in my first review, whenever I take a look at an onscreen adaptation, I will award it from one to five Snapes based on how faithful it is to the children’s book it’s based on. I chose Snapes as I’ve always felt that Alan Rickman’s portrayal of Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films has held up as an excellent example of how to translate a character from page to screen in a way that is faithful to the literary original and still leave room for the writer, director and actor to interpret the character in their own way.

108 – Percy Jackson and the Olympians Episode One

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is the new TV adaptation of the beloved series by Rick Riordan. Find out what I thought of the first episode and how faithfully it interpreted the first four chapters of the original novel.

For a long time I’ve avoided talking about screen adaptations, but I’ve realized that some are too important to ignore because they have such a huge impact on the way that children’s literature is understood and remembered. So let’s dive in to the new Percy Jackson series which was . . . surprisingly good!

Have you seen the new Percy Jackson series? What do you think of it?

102 – Interview with Anne Fine

November’s Leicestershire Children’s Writer is the legendary Anne Fine, author of dozens of books including the Diary of a Killer Cat series, The Chicken Gave it to Me, Bill’s New Frock, Flour Babies, Madame Doubtfire, and her most recent book, Aftershocks.

Anne’s writing skill is matched by her sense of humor and her thoughtfulness, and it was a great pleasure to be able to speak with her. In our conversation, she discusses her latest work, her surprise that Bill’s New Frock remains relevant today, and how she really feels about the cat who inspired her to write Diary of a Killer Cat.

You can learn more about Anne and her work at annefine.co.uk.

62 – Little Lord Fauntleroy Will See You in Court

Little Lord Fauntleroy, a charming story about the nicest kid ever, seems an unlikely subject for a landmark lawsuit. But Frances Hodgson Burnett’s tenacious defense of her rights to her own work forever changed copyright law in Britain, making things better for writers to this day.

Episodes of this show are usually about children’s stories themselves, but I thought it would be fun to share the history of what happened when theater producer E.V. Seebohm decided to rip off Little Lord Fauntleroy and put it on the stage in London, even though he had nothing to do with the book’s creation and its author directly refused her permission. At this point in history, authors had no way to stop unauthorized stage adaptations of their stories. Learn about Burnett’s tenacious defense of her rights and the creative legal strategy that helped win her case.

Activity: What is plagiarism?

Plagiarism means to copy someone else’s work and present it as your own. It’s a terrible idea, because when — not if — someone gets caught plagiarizing, irreparable harm can be done to their grades, reputation, and ability to find a job. It can also, as in the case of E.V. Seebohm’s plagiarized stage production of Little Lord Fauntleroy, result in trouble with the law.

Give children a short passage from Little Lord Fauntleroy to read, then help them to do the following:

  • Directly quote a sentence from the text, using correct punctuation and indicating the chapter number, title of the book, and the author.
  • Paraphrase a few lines from the text without exactly duplicating too many of the words, also indicating the chapter number, title of the book, and the author.
  • Plagiarize a sentence from Little Lord Fauntleroy by copying it partly or entirely into a sentence the student has written as the beginning of a new story.

Discuss the differences between direct quotation, paraphrase, and plagiarism with students, and tell them it is always best to ask for help if they aren’t sure if they have quoted or paraphrased a text correctly.

Sources Used in Research for This Episode

Nierman, Judith. (2010). Piracy Inspires “Real” Stage Version
of Children’s Classic. Copyright Notices, March 2010, p. 16. https://www.copyright.gov/history/lore/pdfs/201003%20CLore_March2010.pdf

Rogers, Edward S. (1902). The Law of Dramatic Copyright. Michigan Law Review, 1(2), pp. 102-120. https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/1272297.pdf

26 – Top Five Children’s Book Adaptations

Since school is nearly out here in Britain and already out in many other places, I thought I might make some suggestions for a fun movie night with the kids during the summer holidays. I’ve chosen my top five favorite adaptations of a children’s book into a film or TV series to share with you.

What are your favorite adaptations of a book written for children? Let me know by writing to letters@childrensliteraturepodcast.com.

Activity: Movie Night!

Pop some popcorn. Get the comfiest blanket in your house and cuddle on the couch with your kids while you enjoy a film together, preferably one you watched as a child and which your own kids have not yet seen. Don’t engage in any kind of discussion or analysis of the film that your kids don’t initiate. Enjoy every moment.