Are You My Mother?

Photo Credit: ArtsPower

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a big fan of introducing young children to performing arts. I went to the children’s symphony in Phoenix as an elementary schooler, and I still remember some of those performances to this day. Now I take my children to our local performing arts center for its “Arts for Youth Program” a few times per year. The storybook adaptations are our favorites.

Friday we saw “Are You My Mother?” by P.D. Eastman. I was curious how well the play would relate to the book, considering Eastman’s classic is a scant 699 words. To create a 55-minute performance, the scriptwriters introduced new themes and additional subplots. For example, the “scary snort” is scheduled to knock down Baby Bird’s tree in the name of progress, while a tree hugger tries to save birds’ home. Baby Bird, Hen, Cat and Dog form a “mixed up family” who work together to get Baby Bird home, showing how all kinds of folks can get along. I almost thought the rag-tag group was going to give up the search and adopt Hen as the new mama.

The show was enjoyable, but it certainly was a departure from the book. In most cases I like the original book better than a screen or stage adaptation. Nothing beats my imagination when it comes to bringing characters to life. So, I have to force myself to forget the original text and approach the play or movie with fresh eyes.

I’m curious, have you ever liked a movie or play better than the original book?

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12 Replies to “Are You My Mother?”

  1. I have never liked a movie or play better than the book. Sometime the movie or the play is good, but as you say often a departure from the original, so good in a different way. If a movie is based on a book, I never go see it until I’ve read the book first because I don’t want it to influence the way I imagine the characters and setting etc.

  2. I have also never liked a movie/play better than the book. I would say the film version I saw of “Swallows and Amazons” 35 years ago didn’t disappoint, nor did “the Lord of the Rings”, but better? NO!

  3. There was a BBC adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables” that was lovely. I enjoyed it far more than the books, although I read all the books after I had watched the movie. That isn’t my usual pattern!

    1. Now that you mention it, I love Masterpiece Theater. I may not like the miniseries better than the book, but I like them just as much. Oh, and Colin Firth as Darcy in Pride and Prejudice = perfection.

  4. Only once. and I may have mentioned it before: Like Water for Chocolate, by Laura Esquivel. The novelist is/was a screenwriter so I suppose this has a lot to do with it! And if you haven’t seen it DO, it is beautiful!

  5. I really liked the “Are you my Mother?” book! It’s kind of cool it was a play 🙂
    I’ve never seen a movie or play as good as the book, but I think The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe was the closest.

  6. I tend to be a purist… and love the original story best. That being said, I do love the Narnia and Lord of the Rings movies, and I can’t wait until my daughters are old enough to sit through the Anne of Green Gables movies with me. 🙂

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