The month of May equals movie time! Well, not necessarily…but we all know that as teachers, popping in a movie or two at the end of the year is a great reward for your class to earn! It also allows you time to fill out that end-of-year paperwork and close out your classroom! So let’s get started with our 7 picture book & movie combinations.
If your school allows you to show a movie or two, we have found seven movies that would fit educational standards because they’re based on adorable picture books.
Picture Book & Movie Instructions
First, read the picture book with your class. Have students complete an activity or two with the picture book.
Next, show the movie and have students compare and contrast both versions. You can discuss the differences and similarities as a class, make a Venn Diagram, have students write a juxtaposition paragraph, or even have students write which they liked better, the book or movie, and why.
Students can write journal entries on whether they were happy to have seen the movie, if the movie ruined the book for them, or if the setting they visualized was portrayed in the movie, and so many more topics to provoke critical thinking.
Another idea is to read aloud the picture book to the students without showing them the pictures. Students sketch out the images they visualized as they hear the story. Next, show them the pictures in the book and compare the two.
Then, watch the movie and compare their visualizations to the movie. Discuss how directors and producers visualize differently than we do, and how they use creative license to change things to make it more visually appealing to an audience. Discuss how readers are a different type of audience than movie viewers. The sky’s the limit with the amount of education you can incorporate when viewing a movie.
7 Picture Book & Movie Combinations
1. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi & Ronald Barrett
The tiny town of Chewandswallow was very much like any other tiny town—except for its weather which came three times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. But it never rained rain and it never snowed snow and it never blew just wind. It rained things like soup and juice. It snowed things like mashed potatoes. And sometimes the wind blew in storms of hamburgers. Life for the townspeople was delicious until the weather took a turn for the worse. The food got larger and larger and so did the portions. Chewandswallow was plagued by damaging floods and storms of huge food. The town was a mess and the people feared for their lives. Something had to be done, and in a hurry.
Movie: Rated PG
2. Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile by Bernard Waber
Lyle the crocodile lives in a house on East 88th Street in New York City. Lyle enjoys helping the Primm family with everyday chores and playing with the neighborhood kids. He’s the happiest crocodile any home ever had…until one neighbor insists that Lyle belongs in a zoo! Mr. Grumps and his cat, Loretta, don’t like crocodiles, and everything Lyle does to win them over seems to go wrong. It will take all of Lyle’s charm—and courage—to reveal the hero, and friend, behind the big, crocodile smile.
Movie: Rated PG
3. The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
Note: This particular book is a graphic novel, and not actually a picture book. However, read it over the span of a couple of days aloud, and you can definitely finish this with your class. The neat part about this book is the fact that it’s a graphic novel. All of the pictures can really allow your students to visualize the details before they watch the movie. This is especially a favorite among boys.
They sound like bad guys, they look like bad guys . . . and they even smell like bad guys. But Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are about to change all of that…Mr. Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. They are going to break two hundred dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr. Snake please stop swallowing Mr. Piranha?!
Movie: Rated PG
4. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
I remember my third-grade teacher first reading this book aloud and I absolutely was enthralled. Later, when the first Jumanji movie came out with Robin Williams, it was equal parts terrifying, imaginative, and fun! (We recommend the movie for grades 4th and up as the animal scenes can be quite scary!)
The game under the tree looked like a hundred others Peters and Judy had at home. But they were searching for something interesting to do, so they decided to give Jumanji a try. Little did they know when they unfolded its ordinary-looking playing board that they were about to be launched into the most exciting and bizarre adventure of their lives…This picture book classic from Chris Van Allsburg has been honored with many awards, including the Caldecott Medal. The surreal story also became the basis of multiple blockbuster film adaptations. This story about a game that comes startlingly to life is a family favorite that inspires imagination and explores the ever-shifting line between fantasy and reality.
Movie: Rated PG (We recommend the original 1995 version for students. Please see link above.)
5. Paddington by Michael Bond and Illustrated by R.W. Alley
For the younger elementary students, the Paddington Book series and movies are so adorable and precious. They are a personal favorite of mine!
Nearly fifty years ago, a small bear from Darkest Peru set out on an adventure of a lifetime. With nothing but a suitcase, several jars of marmalade, and a label around his neck that read, “Please Look After This Bear,” he stowed away on a ship headed for faraway England. When the little bear arrived at London’s busy Paddington Station, he was discovered by Mr. and Mrs. Brown. As luck would have it, the Browns were just the sort of people to welcome a lost bear into their family. Paddington Bear has charmed readers worldwide with his earnest good intentions and humorous misadventures. This reissue of the classic story, with new artwork by original artist R. W. Alley, will surely let a whole new generation of children find a home in their hearts for this lovable lost bear.
Movie: Rated PG
6. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Incorporate language arts, environmental stewardship, and learning about science through this timeless story by Dr. Seuss.
The timeless ecological fable from the iconic Dr. Seuss. Help the Lorax save the planet with this very special slipcase edition of the classic picture book. “’Mister!’ He said with a sawdusty sneeze, ‘I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees.’” The Lorax is the original eco-warrior and his message still rings loud today in this fable about the dangers of destroying our forests, told in the trademark rhyme of the irrepressible Dr. Seuss.
Movie: Rated PG
7. Clifford, the Big Red Dog
My daughter loves Clifford and this is the perfect picture book and movie combination for the lower elementary kiddos.
It only takes a little to be BIG! Meet Clifford and Emily Elizabeth in the original Clifford book! Clifford is big. Clifford is red. But most of all, Clifford knows how to BE A GOOD FRIEND.
Movie: Rated PG
Movies aren’t just a way to occupy your students while you wrap up your grading, packing, or other tasks. It can be a helpful way to summarize a story, promote comparing and contrasting, and help students visualize what they’ve read. While your students watch a movie, we recommend giving them a coloring sheet or two as well. (You know that some of your kiddos need something to do with their hands while they watch a movie, so these are a great way to do just that.)
We hope your May-June is smooth, peaceful, and sprinkled with a movie or two!
Check out our coloring pages here!