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Baby & Toddler


Growing Reader

Have You Seen These Delightful Videos of Your Kid’s Favorite Picture Books?

by Jennifer Ridgway

Photo credit: Sally Anscombe, Taxi Collection/Getty Images

We all have various theories and philosophies when it comes to screen time and our children. For the purposes of this article, I’m setting that debate aside. For those times when a video is needed, there are lots of great video adaptations of amazing picture books available. Depending on your medium of choice (DVD, Blu-Ray, streaming service), the below are just a few of the many, many videos out there. All are fairly short (no longer than thirty minutes) and do a good job of staying true to the text AND the illustrations.

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom*
    Based on the book by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by John Archambault

    The video adaptation turns this book into a fun song. It’s done in a read-aloud style, showing the words and illustrating each of them as they are sung. It also has the letters appear into the illustration, which helps with letter recognition. Performed by Crystal Taliefero. (5 minutes)

  • Giraffes Can’t Dance*
    Based on the book by Giles Andreae, illustrated by Guy Parker-Rees

    After Gerald the Giraffe tries dancing unsuccessfully at the Jungle Dance, he believes his legs are too skinny to dance well. One encouraging friend convinces him that he can be his own best dancer. Narrated by Billy Dee Williams. (7½ minutes)

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar
    Based on the book by Eric Carle

    Originally part of a television special in the UK, this video collection (which also includes four other Carle stories) has a lovely soundtrack inspired by classical music. Narrated by Brian Cummings and Linda Gray. (8 minutes)

  • Good Night, Gorilla*
    Based on the book by Peggy Rathmann

    After snatching keys from the guard, a gorilla mischievously releases the zoo animals while the guard makes his rounds. Narrated by Anthony Edwards. (8½ minutes)

  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
    Based on the book by William Joyce

    This book is an ode to all who love books. As a man discovers a house of books, his world is filled with color. Joyce was involved in the making of the film, so it’s true to his vision. It won an Oscar for Best Animated Short in 2012 in addition to numerous other awards. When I saw this video during award season, it brought tears to my eyes. (15 minutes)

  • The Gruffalo
    Based on the book by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

    Originally broadcast by the BBC, the adaptation features a Mama Squirrel (voiced by Helena Bonham Carter) telling the story of a quick- thinking mouse to her two children. Nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short and a BAFTA award, this is my twins’ current favorite book and movie. (28 minutes)

  • The Snowman
    Based on the book by Raymond Briggs

    Just like the book, this movie is wordless other than two sentences at the beginning and the song “Walking in the Air.” It is a beautiful movie with a soothing, atmospheric score. Despite the winter theme and appearance of Santa, my children watched it in summer and were enraptured by the music, requesting it often. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short in 1982. (27 minutes)

  • Room on the Broom
    Based on the book by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

    Narrated by Simon Pegg and nominated for an Academy Award for Animated Short, this adaptation barely strays from the text other than a little added animation. While the book is often promoted for Halloween, the story works year-round for its themes of kindness and friendship. (27 minutes)

If you subscribe to YouTube or a streaming video service (such as Hulu or Amazon), check to see which videos may be freely available as part of your subscription.

*Scholastic Storybook Treasures has produced over 100 picture book adaptations, included those marked with an asterisk above. These are available as DVD collections as well as standalone shorts via YouTube.


Are there others videos that you and your children love? Let us know in the comments below!