2021 TV shows and movies: The children's books to read before they hit your screens

Published on: 28 December 2020 Author: Catriona Wightman

Want to read the books before you see them on screen? Find out what's coming up in 2021 here...

Cruella de Vil on the front cover of The Hundred and One Dalmatians

Pic: Steven Lenton

There is so much to look forward to in 2021 - and in the mix are some brilliant new television shows and films based on some of our favourite children's books!

If you fancy reading the books before you see them on screen, then you're in luck - here's what we can look forward to watching this year!

Just be aware that some things may move around (if there's anything we've learnt in 2020, it's that release dates are never set in stone...)

Chaos Walking - 22 January, 2021

Now this is a movie we wouldn't be surprised to see move again - promised for ages, this film based on Patrick Ness' popular book The Knife of Never Letting Go almost seems like it will never actually be released after lots of reshoots and changes to the date.

It does look like we're getting closer though, so expect a cast including Daisy Ridley, Tom Holland, Mads Mikkelsen, Cynthia Erivo and even Nick Jonas taking on the dystopian science fiction story.

Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway - 26 March, 2021

Beatrix Potter's much-loved bunny gets another outing in this movie starring James Corden as the voice of Peter alongside stars such as Rose Byrne and Domhnall Gleeson.

In this adventure, Peter just can't shake his penchant for mischief - but when he ventures out into a world where his cheeky side is appreciated and his family risks everything to come looking for him, will he be able to decide what kind of rabbit he wants to be?

Cruella - 28 May, 2021

We love Dodie Smith's classic story The Hundred and One Dalmatians, but this Disney movie promises to put a new spin on things by focusing on the villain of villains, Cruella de Vil!

We can't wait to see how Emma Stone plays Cruella - she'll be joined in the film by stars including Emma Thompson, Mark Strong and Jamie Demetriou.

Fear Street - summer 2021

Get ready to be creeped out! The Fear Street books by Goosebumps author R. L. Stine are getting the movie treatment, with three films coming out on Netflix over a three-month period from the summer. We'll be joining a group of teenagers who discover that the terrifying events in their town may be linked... and they could be in danger. Yikes!

A Boy Called Christmas - autumn 2021

The front cover of A Boy Called Christmas

Is it too early to start talking about Christmas? We hope not, because we can't wait for this festive adaptation of Matt Haig's story which is coming in 2021. A reimagining of the Father Christmas story, and following a boy who sets off into the snowy white north to find his dad, the cast includes the likes of Jim Broadbent, Maggie Smith and Kristen Wiig.

Pinocchio (TBC)

You've got your pick of Pinocchios, with two adaptations of Carlo Collodi's novel on the way! If Pinocchio makes you think of Disney, you might be interested in the upcoming live-action film from them, starring Tom Hanks as Gepetto (though we're not sure whether this is arriving in 2021 or not).

If you want to go back to the novel for a darker twist on the Pinocchio tale, keep an eye out for Netflix's adaptation, directed by Guillermo Del Toro and starring the likes of Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Christoph Waltz and Cate Blanchett. This isn't likely to be for young children, though - we're expecting it to be a grown-up take on the story.

Ada Twist, Scientist (TBC)

We love Andrea Beaty and David Roberts' brilliant books, so how exciting that an animated Ada Twist, Scientist show is coming to Netflix in 2021!

This series for little ones will focus on 8-year-old Ada solving mysteries with her best friends Rosie Revere and Iggy Peck, and it's being made by President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama's production company, so we're expecting good things!

Percy Jackson and the Olympians (TBC)

We are so excited about this one! Disney+ are currently working on a new television series based on Rick Riordan's books (and if you were left disappointed by the previous movies, don't worry - Rick's promises that this will be different!) We're not sure whether this will be ready for 2021, but we're certainly keeping our fingers crossed...

The Tiger Rising (TBC)

Based on the book by Kate DiCamillo, this film tells the story of Rob - bullied, lonely and grieving his late mother, he escapes into flights of fancy. But then one day, he discovers a tiger being hidden in the woods by the mean owner of the motel where he lives...

With a cast including Queen Latifah and Dennis Quaid, we think this is going to be an emotional one - we can't wait to watch it!

The Lord of the Rings (TBC)

We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but we think this is going to be epic! Amazon is putting a lot into its new Lord of the Rings series, which is actually a prequel to the stories we know so well, taking place in the Second Age of Middle Earth.

Amazon has committed to five seasons of the show, and the rights alone cost $250 million - with rumours that the whole series could end up costing more than $1 billion! See what we mean when we say it looks like it will be epic? The show is scheduled to appear in 2021, but we'll have to see if coronavirus has caused any delays.

Roald Dahl on Netflix (TBC)

The front cover of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Illustration: Sir Quentin Blake

Netflix has announced big plans to bring Roald Dahl stories to the screen, and we're hoping that 2021 brings us the first treats! They've already announced that Oscar-winner Taika Waititi is working on two animated series - an adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and a show featuring 'a wholly original take on the Oompa-Loompas'. We can't wait!

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (TBC)

We don't know much about this one yet, but we're hoping we have lots of Arthur Dent's adventures coming our way! The show is apparently being made by Hulu in the US, so fingers crossed that if it does happen, we get it over here too.

The Swiss Family Robinson (TBC)

The front cover of The Swiss Family Robinson

Hot off the press, Disney+ have announced that they're working on a brand new remake of The Swiss Family Robinson - the original book by Johann David Wyss follows a family that gets shipwrecked on a deserted island. As this one has only just been announced, we don't have many more details, but we're looking forward to joining the adventures!

The Mysterious Benedict Society (TBC)

Also announced by Disney+ recently, this series based on the books by Trenton Lee Stewart follows a group of orphans placed undercover at a boarding school known as The Institute, where they must foil a nefarious plot. We're not sure when exactly this will be appearing on our screens, but we have a feeling it's going to be a lot of fun!

Peter Pan and Wendy (TBC)

We're not sure whether we'll get this in 2021 now, as filming had to be pushed back because of the coronavirus and will start in March. But we couldn't resist including it, because really, the thought of Jude Law as Captain Hook really makes us smile! He'll be joined by Yara Shahidi as Tinker Bell, and we think this could be really magical.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (TBC)

We know lots of children love Greg Heffley's hilarious books, so we're really looking forward to the new film coming up on Disney+! Once again, we don't know if it'll make it into 2021, but we really hope it does - we think it will bring lots of laughs with it!

What films or TV series based on books are you most looking forward to in 2021? Will you be reading any of these stories before they arrive on screen? Let us know in the comments or by tweeting us @BookTrust!

Topics: Classics, Features

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