As I'm catching up on the pile of professional periodicals in my in-tray (a quicker task than it might sound, since I've already read half of each issue on-line,) I came across this article from Publisher's Weekly about the rising cache in Hollywood of picture books as vehicles for full-length motion pictures. Both Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Where theWild Things Are did well enough in 2009 to ensure that more picture books will find their way to the big screen. And as filmmakers try to strike the right balance between name recognition and adaptable storytelling, can I please put forward my hobby-horse, as it were, for consideration: Graham Oakley's The Church Mouse.I've written before about my complete and utter amazement that this book, and the corresponding series, has gone out of print. And although I'm not always a fan of film adaptations of beloved books, this is a situation where the exposure afforded by Hollywood might be just the thing this book needs to get it back in the public eye.
And for a filmmaker, what's not to love? It is a more sophisticated story than your average picture book aimed at the 4-8 age bracket, so there is no need to fluff it up for a 90 minute time-frame. There are loads of characters--perfect for attracting an A-list of celebrity voices--which eliminates the need of creating additional characters for the screen. The numerous sequels lend themselves to franchise building. The all-animal cast will appeal to everyone, as will the story of the Church Mouse and his friend, the cat Samson, who has listened to so many sermons about brotherly love that he cannot eat the mice living in the church. The hijinks! The bucolic English setting! The CGI possabilities abound! If there are any interns trawling the cybersphere for cinematic inspiration, look no further than The Church Mouse. And if there are any publishers thinking to bring back a classic, PLEASE bring these books back! I can't mend my copies any more than I already have, and the secondary market is prophibitive.