Book to Movie: Concrete Cowboy

April 2nd, 2021 by

You know how every time you go on Netflix, a video immediately starts playing and you have to scramble to turn off the sound or scroll down the page to get it to stop and you’re super aggravated and annoyed? Well, maybe that’s just me… But today I was actually incredibly excited by the video that greeted me: a trailer for the new movie Concrete Cowboy!

The film is based on the book Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri, which I previously reviewed for Kidsmomo. I recommended the book back then, and I still recommend it now! Here’s part of my review:


“With each turn of the page, I was drawn even more into the action and wanted to know what would happen next. And I also really enjoyed learning about this community I’d never heard of before — even without the illustrations, all the vivid descriptions brought it to life in my imagination, but the pictures by Jesse Joshua Watson are also awesome.”

To learn more, watch the movie trailer below and read my full book review!

And if you’ve already read the book or seen the movie, please leave a comment below with your thoughts!

— Karen

Karen also recently learned about cowboy poetry, which originated in the late 1800s when cowboy crews spent months on long-distance cattle drives across the West. These crews (including Black cowboys) would entertain themselves on the road by singing and playing music, telling stories, and composing their own songs and poems. Now Karen has spent literal hours reading cowboy poetry and watching their performances online!

More about Karen »

Books to Big Screen (Kinda): Stargirl and Timmy Failure

February 26th, 2020 by

Usually when we share trailers for movies based on books, it makes sense to say “Books to Big Screen” because the films are released in theaters. But fortunately, streaming TV now makes it possible to enjoy some book-to-movie adaptations from the comfort of your couch. So put on your favorite PJs, grab some microwave popcorn, and check out this downsized (but still very exciting) edition of Books to Big Screen (Kinda)

In just a few weeks, Disney+ will release its adaptation of Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli. We really love this book and we’ve both read it multiple times — so to be honest, we’re already a bit concerned that the characters and imagery in the trailer don’t match what’s in our imaginations. (Yes, we are two different people with two different brains. But somehow, what’s in the trailer seems off to both of us.) Let’s just hope that the movie ends up doing justice to the original book. You can bet we’ll be glued to our screens and judging it hard-core — much like the students at Mica High judge poor Stargirl. (So maybe we should be less judgy? Well, we have this website. What’s their excuse?)

Check out the trailer for the upcoming Stargirl movie below. It will be available starting March 13th!

If you simply can’t wait until then to get your book-to-movie fix, then you’re in luck: Disney+ has already released an adaptation of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis. Take a look at the trailer below — and if you’ve already watched the film, then you’re in luck because there are seven books in the series to keep you entertained!

Are you excited for the new Stargirl movie? Have you already watched the Timmy Failure film? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Wonder Movie: Yup, It’s Wonderful

November 19th, 2017 by

wonder-movie-posterOkay, I’m going to keep this short because lately Kidsmomo has been all Wonder, all of the time. First, I posted the movie trailer. Then, I posted some clips. Now, it’s time for the verdict:

This movie is great — dare I say, even wonderful! Although Auggie’s physical appearance in the movie is not nearly as pronounced as described in the book, that really doesn’t matter. That was a big concern of mine beforehand, but as you watch the movie you still see the reactions of everyone around him and you still experience his pain at feeling like an outsider.

But even more than that, the movie does a really good job at showing how the people in Auggie’s world are affected, especially his parents and his older sister (Via). Even though she has chapters dedicated to her in the book, via-photoI didn’t expect Via’s storyline to be so prominent in the film, and I’m really glad that we get so much time to see things from her perspective.

Usually, Kidsmomo gives out smiley faces to the movies that we like. In this case, I think Wonder deserves both a smiley face and a sobbing face — because boy did I cry a bunch during this movie. Thank goodness I planned ahead and brought tissues!

So I give Wonder a 🙂 and a 😭 — but what about you? If you’ve seen the movie, leave a comment with your thoughts!

— Karen

Now that she’s seen Wonder, Karen is looking ahead to the movie adaptations of Wonderstruck and A Wrinkle in Time. They look sooooooo good! 😍

More about Karen »

Kidsmomo at the Catching Fire Movie

November 24th, 2013 by

TICK TOCK. TICK TOCK. Finally, more than one year after the first movie, the time has actually arrived… opening weekend for the new Catching Fire movie!

As pretty much everyone in pre-Panem America knows, the film is based on the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Both the new movie and the books are meant for kids ages 12 and up. Because, you know, extremely upsetting and graphic violence.

But if you’re already a fan of the books, then you’re probably planning to see Catching Fire in theaters — and we think you’ll like what you see!

As die-hard District 12 supporters, we saw the movie on opening night, wearing our Mockingjay pins, of course.


Amazingly, the film actually lived up to our high expectations, based on our enjoyment of the first movie and our undying love for the books.

Don’t get us wrong — they left out A LOT of good stuff. But if you’re into the book series, then you’ll probably still have a great time watching Catching Fire come to life on the big screen.

Also, there’s considerably less violence than in the first movie — which was good for Karen, who normally avoids suspenseful films at all costs. Even so, she still spent a good portion of the film with her legs literally trembling from anxiety, as there’s obviously still lots of tension and bloodshed. And this time, there’s violence outside the arena that is pretty darned disturbing. (Don’t forget the movie is rated PG-13!)

Btw, if you feel like the Hunger Games series is not for you (because, you know, extremely upsetting and graphic violence), then we definitely suggest checking out Suzanne Collins’ other series, The Underland Chronicles (also known as “the Gregor books”).

But if you did watch the new Catching Fire movie, leave a comment below and share your review. We can’t wait to hear your thoughts! Or let us know if you’re planning to see the movie, and what you’re looking forward to most! Finnick, perhaps? 🙂

Now, if you’ll excuse us, we have a very busy schedule watching Katniss/Peeta/Gale cast interviews online…

— Karen (District 8, textiles) and Nancy (District 3, electronics)

kidsmomo_catchingfiremovie-pinsKaren and Nancy added Catching Fire to their calendars the minute the release date was announced. Now, the countdown to November 21, 2014 for Mockingjay Part 1 begins…

New Harry Potter Movie!

September 17th, 2013 by

Fantastic_Beasts_and_Where_to_Find_Them-movieDid you hear about the new Harry Potter movie? Did you did you did you did you?

If you haven’t… OMG THERE’S A NEW HP MOVIE COMING! I know we’ve joked around before, but this is the real deal: J. K. Rowling herself is adapting the Harry Potter companion book Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them into a screenplay featuring Fantastic Beasts’ fictional author, Newt Scamander.

From the official press release, she says:

“Although it will be set in the worldwide community of witches and wizards where I was so happy for seventeen years, ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’ is neither a prequel nor a sequel to the Harry Potter series, but an extension of the wizarding world. The laws and customs of the hidden magical society will be familiar to anyone who has read the Harry Potter books or seen the films, but Newt’s story will start in New York, seventy years before Harry’s gets underway.”

A refresher course on our new hero, Professor Newton Artemis Fido “Newt” Scamander, the magizoologist who wrote the Hogwarts required textbook:

  • He was born in 1897, sorted into the Hufflepuff house at Hogwarts.
  • He became a magizoologist at the encouragement of his mother, who was a breeder of hippogriffs.
  • After graduating from Hogwarts, Scamander joined the Ministry of Magic, where he worked in the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures. His career included the creation of the Werewolf Register of 1947, the 1965 passage of the Ban on Experimental Breeding, and many research trips for the Dragon Research and Restraint Bureau.
  • He traveled all around the world to hundreds of countries to research magical creatures for Fantastic Beasts, which was written in 1918… with a foreword by Albus Dumbledore!
  • At some point in his life, he was headmaster of Hogwarts.
  • He died sometime between July 31st, 1991 and December 18, 1992, about the time Harry Potter started his first year of Hogwarts.
  • His grandson, Rolf Scamander, eventually married one of Ravenclaw’s brightest (and definitely the most unique), Luna Lovegood.


New edition of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Of course, we’re all abuzz on who should be playing Newt Scamander on the silver screen — Karen suggested Jake Gyllenhaal (really, just because she likes looking at his face), but I’m partial to Ben Whishaw, an up and coming British actor who was in the newest James Bond movie. Obviously, the actor will be British. Get with it, Karen!

There’s no news on when the movie will be released, when it’ll start filming, or who the cast will be — but tune in to Kidsmomo for any exciting news! For now, we’ll just have to go back to studying Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them for clues on what kind of adventures and creatures Newt Scamander will encounter. What are your predictions for the movie?

— Nancy


Nancy mentioned a few weeks ago that she loves cryptozoology, and now we’re finding out about a new Harry Potter movie with magical beasts. Clearly, she’s clairvoyant. As clairvoyant as Sybill Trelawney.

More about Nancy »

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters – Movie Review

August 8th, 2013 by

Oh my gods, could it be true? Is the second Percy Jackson movie finally out? Yes, three years after the first film, the newest movie, Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, officially hit theaters yesterday!

But is it worth spending your hard-earned drachmas to see the film? You don’t need the Oracle of Delphi to tell you the answer, just check out our review below — told in animated images because this is a moving pictures review, after all! (Hardy har har.)

First things first — this post contains SPOILERS about the movie and book, so beware!


And now back to the review: We were pretty excited about the movie, since it has been three years. So when we sat down in our seats, we were like:


Karen is the tall one, and Nancy is the one with the giant head.


Did you like the movie overall?

KAREN: I have to admit, I didn’t like it as much as the first movie, but I think that’s because it’s been so much longer since I’ve read the books. Before seeing the film, I was actually furiously studying up to refresh my memory, and then afterwards I was all like:


KAREN: But overall, I enjoyed the movie — especially the view of Logan Lerman’s face!


NANCY: Yes, indeedy. We both agree that Logan Lerman’s face, if you’re a fan of that sort of thing, is a good reason to see the movie. But beyond his cute face, I actually liked this movie more than the first one — maybe it’s just because my expectations were lowered after that first movie, but I found Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters plenty enjoyable! 


How did you feel about any differences from the original book?

tyson-two-eyesKAREN: Nancy can tell you, before the movie I was positively foaming at the mouth in rage over Tyson’s appearance. Tyson is one of my favorite characters in the series, and I always pictured him as a big, lovable, one-eyed dude.

Based on trailers and photos, I saw lots of Tyson looking like a normal two-eyed person instead of a Cyclops, and I was NOT happy with the movie people…


But it turns out, Tyson’s feelings about his face and his choice to sometimes be two-eyed are part of the movie’s message. So then I was all:


NANCY: Tyson’s eyes didn’t so much bother me, but I did expect him to be bigger! But my biggest beef with the movie was that they cut out a whole section that I thought could have been great: When Annabeth asks Percy to tie her to the mast of the Blackbeard’s ship so she can hear the Siren’s song (and see her greatest desires). I didn’t mind that there was no Blackbeard, but I thought that was really important to know how Annabeth still has hope for Luke!

What was your favorite part of the movie?

KAREN: Besides Logan Lerman?


NANCY: It is pretty tough to beat that adorable face:


KAREN:  I loved the scenes at Camp Half-Blood, especially the opening sequence with the camp competition. Seeing all the demigods in their element and feeling like I was there, I was all like:


NANCY: Me too! The first scene with the camp challenge was great. Usually I’m not a huge fan of 3D, but I also thought the action scene with the bull was pretty kick-butt — especially when Percy figures out how to defeat it! For once, I was like this:


NANCY: I also thought the animated sequence where show the legend of Kronos was pretty awesome. Remember the animated telling of The Tale of the Three Brothers in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2?


It was just as cool as that!

What was your least favorite part of the movie?

KAREN: Weirdly, I felt like sometimes Percy and Annabeth weren’t acting with enough urgency on their quest. Like, hello, the lives of all your friends and the entire future of Camp Half-Blood depends on you guys!


Also, I felt like Annabeth didn’t get to show off her awesome smarts and abilities enough. I mean, check her out in the first movie:


NANCY: Well, this is kind of minor, but there’s a part in the movie where Percy busts out his awesome son of Poseidon powers, like when he did this in the first movie:


NANCY: Well, in Sea of Monsters, there’s a scene where Luke is also able to surf on water! Uh, c’mon. Luke is the son of Hermes (who was awesome in the movie, BTW), and last I checked, the children of Hermes do not have the power of controlling water.


Okay, I know why they did it. It was a cool scene. But still. C’mon.


Face you give the movie:


Click to see our awesome shirts

KAREN: I give this movie a smiley face, but kind of a small smile instead of a big grin. If you’re not already a Percy Jackson fan, this probably isn’t the right movie for you, but if you like the books, you’ll enjoy seeing Sea of Monsters come to life on the screen.

NANCY: I’ve decided to give this one a solid big smile! It wasn’t perfect, but like Karen said, you’ll definitely enjoy most of the movie if you like the books. And if you haven’t read the books yet, you should, because reading the Percy Jackson series is like this:

We attended an advance screening of the movie as guests of Disney Publishing.
We can’t take credit for making any of these images — all taken from the Interwebs!

Movies Based on Roald Dahl Books

September 12th, 2011 by

Guess who has a birthday this month? Karen! HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KAREN!

(She doesn’t like to make a big deal about it, so naturally I make a big deal about it.).

Another awesome person who has a birthday this month? ROALD DAHL! His birthday was on September 13th, and he would have turned 95 tomorrow. As I’ve mentioned many times before, he’s one of my favorite authors. One of the hardest questions to answer, EVER: Which Roald Dahl book do you like the most? Well… I’m gonna avoid answering that, like I always do, by focusing on mini-reviews for some of the movies based on his kids’ books:

The BFG (1989)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

While there are quite a few differences from the book (especially at the end!), I’m glad that this was done with animation and not live-action. It was made in 1989 (when an old fogey like me was still a little kid), and I think we’re due for a new movie adaptation! Maybe this time around they’ll make it live-action and call up Ian McKellan (who plays Gandalf in the Lord of the Rings series) as the BFG.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)
Rating: ★★★★★

Don’t let the title (or the old-fashioned poster) fool you — even though Willy Wonka is in the title, Charlie Bucket and Grandpa Joe are very important in this musical version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! One of my favorite scenes is when Willy Wonka sings “Pure Imagination” as the kids enter the chocolate-mixing garden room. My only pet peeve: this version is missing the nut-cracking squirrels, but I’ll let it slide since everything else about this version was just scrumdidilyumptious! Oh, but in real life: Oompa Loompas are kind of creepy.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Well, the squirrels are in this movie! And the bright visuals are stunning — exactly the wacky, zany color pallette I always imagined Charlie and Wonka’s factory would have. While I didn’t love Johnny Depp’s performance as Willy Wonka, all of the actors who played the kids were great — I actually wanted to be Violet Beauregarde or Veruca Salt, and they’re horrible! Oh, and Oompa Loompas in 2005 are still kind of creepy.

See More…

It’s a Miracle!

December 15th, 2010 by

In case the holiday music, ornament-laden store windows, and decorated classrooms haven’t already tipped you off, I’m here with a public service announcement for all Kidsmomo readers: It’s almost Christmas! Did you know? Surprise!

Last year, we dedicated a theme to holiday books and came up with a whole list of suggested reads. So this year, I’m focusing on just one story for the season: Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies.

Yes, the classic movie is also a book! It was penned by the same guy who wrote the original screenplay, and it was published as a novella at the same time that the film came out (in 1947). And as you can imagine, if you’re a fan of the movie, I guarantee you’ll enjoy the book. The novella is a close match for the movie, almost scene for scene — and you’ll find that even exact dialogue is represented! I was particularly delighted to see that the book closes with the precise words that Fred speaks at the end of the movie.

And this year, I was especially happy to have the book because for the life of me, I can’t find the movie playing on TV! What’s wrong with this world when they show the 1994 remake instead of the beloved 1947 original?! Thankfully, the book saved me from becoming a Grinch!

— Karen

Karen actually has a copy of the movie — but on VHS. (Do you guys even know what that means?) Now that she no longer has a VCR, perhaps it’s time to invest in a DVD of the film…

More about Karen »

Harriet the Spy Movie Review

April 3rd, 2010 by

A while back, we reported the news that the Disney Channel would be making a movie based on the much-loved children’s book Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh. What we should have said was that Disney would be taking the original story, twisting it all around like the world’s craziest pretzel, and stomping all over it with steel-toed boots — and then sweeping up the mess, throwing it out onto the street, and running it over with a monster truck. Yes, it was that bad.

Yeah, we know the trailer looks fun. And if you really want to, you can catch the movie when it reruns on the Disney Channel tomorrow night (April 4th) or Monday afternoon (April 5th). Watch it if you must. But you’ve been warned! And we’ve got plenty of proof — in the spirit of Harriet and her notebook, we documented our observations of the movie in real-time over IM.

Things seemed promising at the start as the setting and characters were introduced:

Karen: Okay, it’s starting!

Nancy: OK, I see the titles

Nancy: the city?

Karen: Manhattan!

Karen: The title!


Karen: YES!

Karen: I like how this really looks like NYC.

Karen: Hey, it’s the girl from Degrassi!

Karen: Hey, it’s another girl from Degrassi!

Nancy: “Sport” looks like JTT to me

Nancy: that’s former teen heartthrob Jonathon Taylor Thomas for all you non-old people out there

Karen: Since I’m an old person, I knew exactly who you meant. But I didn’t respond because I disagree.

See More…

Breaking Book News: Guardians of Ga’Hoole Movie Trailer

March 8th, 2010 by

On Friday, Nancy and I were among the crowds lined up to see the new Alice in Wonderland movie on opening night. How was it? Well, you’ll have to wait a little longer for our KidsmomoMO movie review, but I’ll give you a hint: one of the most exciting things on screen came before the film even started… the premiere of the Guardians of Ga’Hoole movie trailer!

Entitled Legend of the Guardians, the film is due out in September and will cover the first three books in Kathryn Lasky’s popular book series*. Of course, like every other movie these days, it will be in 3D. And while I’m not always the biggest fan of 3D, in this case I think it’s going to make a HUGE difference. Because I’m sorry to say that this online trailer isn’t nearly as breathtaking as what I saw in the theater. But check it out anyway, and leave a comment with your thoughts! What do you think — did they get it right?

— Karen

* If you’re not familiar with the books, check out these 5-star reviews from Ayra (age 10) and Milo (age 9).

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