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Eight Children's Novels that Should Be Adapted for Adults

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | October 19, 2009 |

By Dustin Rowles | Lists | October 19, 2009 |

As most of you already know, Spike Jonze’s adult vision of Maurice Sendak’s beloved children’s novel Where the Wild Things Are was the number one film at the box-office, racking up over $30 million. However, most critics agree that Jonze’s film was not appropriate for younger audiences (and certainly not the four-to-eight year olds the book was geared toward). The audience make-up reflected that: 43 percent of those who saw Where the Wild Things Are were 18 and older, and only 27 percent of moviegoers were comprised of families and their children.

The lesson: You don’t have to tailor your children’s books toward children to succeed. So, in that vein, I came up with eight more beloved children’s books that could be adapted for adults.

8. Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss

Director: Todd Phillips (The Hangover, Road Trip)

Genre: Road Trip Comedy

The Pitch: Two teenagers, the summer after their graduation, travel the country and sleep with 26 women with first names that begin with every letter of the alphabet.

Tagline: “Will you succeed? Yes, you will indeed.”

7. The Napping House by Don and Audrey Wood

Director: Edward Zwick (Defiance, Blood Diamond

Genre: Holocaust Drama

The Pitch: A Jewish family is unknowingly sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Members of the family continue to fall into an eternal sleep.

Tagline: “There is a house, a napping house, where everybody’s sleeping.”

6. Goodnight Moon by by Margaret Wise Brown

Director: Roland Emmerich (The Day After Tomorrow, 2012)

Genre: Apocalypse Thriller

The Pitch: Aliens destroy the moon and throw off its gravitational pull, resulting in the oceans destroying coastal United States.

Tagline: “Goodnight room. Goodnight moon.”

5. Stone Soup

Director: David Fincher (The Game, Se7en)

Genre: Psychological Thriller

The Pitch: Three down-on-their-luck strangers enter a town, and after the townspeople initially refuse to help them, the strangers turn their poisonous soup into a deadly picnic.

Tagline: “I do like a tasty stone soup.”

4. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Director: Tim Burton (Edward Scissorhands, Sleepy Hollow)

Genre: Surreal Horror Musical

The Pitch: Scored by Roger Waters and Danny Elfman, “Mickey in the Night Kitchen” is about three chefs whose secret ingredient is the blood of children.

Tagline: “We make cake and nothing’s the matter!”

3. Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey

Director: Roman Polanski

Genre: Erotic Drama

The Pitch: An underage boy prostitute named George explores the limits of his sexuality with The Man in the Yellow Hat.

Tagline: “Curious George Takes a Job”

2. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Director: Eli Roth (Hostel)

Genre: Comedy Horror

The Pitch: A killer caterpillar eats holes through its victims, and must collect twelve victims before transforming into a murdering butterfly.

Tagline: “On Wednesday, the caterpillar eats through three unsuspecting lawyers.”

1. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Director: Mitchell Spinelli (White Panty Chronicles, Taped College Confession)

Genre: Adult.

The Pitch: A man with a very tiny penis must have sex with a succession of women with increasingly voracious sexual appetites.

The Tagline: “I Think I Can!”

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.