So many amazing animations are based on British books! As part of Anim18, we’re exploring some of the best animations from the UK and around the world that have been inspired by British stories.
Using everything from stop motion to CGI and anime, animators bring to life the magical worlds that authors have created on the page. Why not read the book, watch the film and spot the similarities and differences?!
You can do this as part of the Summer Reading Challenge, which takes place every year during the summer holidays. Sign-up at your local library, then read six library books of your choice to complete the challenge. There are rewards to collect along the way, and it’s free to take part! Find out more here.
Look out for animation screenings, activities and events across the UK as part of Anim18. You can find out what’s on near to you here.
Tweet us at #Anim18 your thoughts on a book and a film and you might win a prize!
ANIMAL FARM (1954) Cert U
A staple of the school curriculum, Animal Farm is George Orwell’s allegorical novel about a successful farmyard revolution by the resident animals against the farmer which goes horribly wrong as the victors create a new tyranny among themselves.
This was the first ever feature length British animation to be shown in cinemas, and was created by legendary husband and wife team John Halas & Joy Batchelor.
THE WIND IN THE WILLOWS (1987) Cert PG
The children’s novel by Kenneth Grahame was first published in 1908, but the story has been beloved for many years after. Badger, Rat and Mole are trying to save Toad Hall and its owner, their rich irresponsible airhead playboy friend Toad, from himself, as well as financial ruin, the court and a gang of conspiratorial weasels who have their eye on the place.
Created by the infamous British studio, Cosgrove Hall, who also brought us everything from Danger Mouse to Chorlton and the Wheelies.
FANTASTIC MR FOX (2009) Cert PG
Roald Dahl’s best-selling book comes to life, as Mr. and Mrs. Fox live a happy home life with their eccentric son Ash and visiting nephew Kristopherson. That is until Mr. Fox slips into his sneaky, old ways and plots the greatest chicken heist the animal world has ever seen.
This 2009 stop motion animation from director Wes Anderson was created by talented animators at 3 Mills Studios in London. They also worked on Corpse Bride, Frankenweenie and the new-for-2018 Isle of Dogs.
Another tale from Roald Dahl sees the imaginative story of a young girl and the Giant who introduces her to the wonders and perils of Giant Country. Standing 24-feet tall with enormous ears and a keen sense of smell, The BFG is endearingly dim-witted, while Sophie a precocious 10-year-old girl from London.
There are a number of animated versions to try, including the ITV/Cosgrove Hall film from 1989 featuring the voice of David Jason, and the beautiful 2016 version featuring CGI animation alongside live action.
THE IRON GIANT (1999) Cert U
Inspired by The Iron Man, written by Ted Hughes, the story follows a young boy who befriends a giant robot from outer space. It’s a classic that remains contemporary for all young children.
Directed by Brad Bird, who went on to create ‘The Incredibles’.
Based on Rudyard Kipling’s book, the story of Mowgli is engaging to every generation. Abandoned as a child, Mowgli is raised by wolves, but his his peaceful existence is threatened by the return of the man-eating tiger Shere Khan.
You could watch the 1967 Disney animation, the 2016 film that combines live action and digital animation, or keep an eye out for the brand new adaptation ‘Mowgli’.
WATERSHIP DOWN (1978) Cert U
Not for the faint-hearted or younger viewers, but worthy of a mention here. This classic British animation is based on the novel by Richard Adams and follows the survival and adventure of a small group of rabbits.
MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER (2018) Cert U
Taken from The Little Broomstick, by UK author Mary Stewart, this animation tells the story of Mary, who follows a mysterious cat into the nearby forest, where she discovers an old broomstick and the strange Fly-by-Night flower. The flower and the broomstick whisk Mary above the clouds to Endor College — a school of magic. But there are terrible things happening at the school, and when Mary tells a lie, she must risk her life to try and set things right.
This Japanese animation is directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and is a brand new release this year.
WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE (2014) Cert U
Joan G. Robinson’s novel is the tale of shy Anna, who moves to the seaside to live with her aunt and uncle for the summer, where she discovers an old mansion surrounded by marshes, and meets Marnie. The two girls instantly form a friendship that blurs the lines between reality and imagination, until one day when Anna starts to realise the truth about her new friend.
This is the second film from Hiromasa Yonebayashi, who also created ‘The Secret World of Arietty’ based on a British story ‘The Borrowers’ (by Mary Norton).
HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE (2006)
Howl’s Moving Castle is a fantasy novel by British author Diana Wynne Jones. A young quiet girl named Sophie works in a hat-shop, until her life is turned upside down when she is rescued by Howl, a notorious wizard rumoured to eat the hearts of young maidens.
Directed by Hayao Miyazaki (‘Spirited Away’,’My Neighbour Totoro’), this is the third-highest-grossing anime of all time.