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Frozen

 

By Kathy Pillatzki
Assistant Director
Henry County Library System

  Lately it seems like pop culture for the younger set has been dominated by the movie Frozen. I haven’t seen it, but I hear mention of it daily, and I seem to be hearing the hit song “Let it Go” everywhere. Frozen is the latest release from Disney Animation Studios, and the recent winner of a raft of honors including two Academy Awards, including Best Animated Feature and Best Original Song.

  A full-length animated movie from Disney is pretty much guaranteed to be a blockbuster hit these days. I can’t even imagine the droves of talented people it must take to pull off such a feat. But interestingly, much of the inspiration for some of Disney’s biggest animated successes comes back to a single person: 19th century Danish author Hans Christian Andersen.

  Frozen is based on Andersen’s original story, The Snow Queen. Other Andersen tales that Disney has adapted include The Little Mermaid, The Steadfast Tin Soldier (a segment of Fantasia), and The Emperor’s New Clothes (repackaged as The Emperor’s New Groove). It’s no coincidence that Disney returns to Andersen for inspiration time and again. That his tales have survived for nearly 200 years and still resonate with children today is a testament to the timeless charm of his work.

  If there’s a child in your life who is a movie buff, books turned into movies are a great way to encourage reading. Comparing a movie to its book is a great way to encourage critical thinking, comparison skills, and attention to detail. For reluctant readers, seeing the movie first can pique interest and pave the way for a smoother reading experience. The animated feature film Charlotte’s Web, released by Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1973, is particularly good for this, because the film stays very true to the book, right down to the dialogue.

  For the older set there’s currently Divergent and the Hunger Games trilogy.  Our libraries frequently host movie nights where teens view a screening of a popular movie followed by a group discussion of the merits of the movie vs. the book on which it is based. There’s never any shortage of spirited opinions on what movie makers add to the story, and what they leave out. I’m personally intrigued by Disney’s Maleficent, due out at the end of May. It’s the tale of Sleeping Beauty told from the perspective of the evil queen. It’s bound to be interesting and to renew interest in the original tale from the Brothers Grimm.

  I will caution you that Disney tends to clean up and gloss over some of the more graphic and violent elements in folk and fairy tales. It wasn’t uncommon in past centuries for children’s tales to be pretty gory and depressing by today’s standards. However, Henry County libraries have picture book editions of most that are less buffed-and-polished than the Disney versions, but still not as brutal as the originals. Check with your local branch for availability of these and other books turned into movies.

 

 

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