Do you have Marley fever?
The movie has been a hit since it came out a couple of weeks ago, and books for all ages are selling like hotcakes. I am going to focus on some of the great books since I haven’t seen the movie yet. If you are one of the many who has seen it, feel free to contribute in the comments: How was it compared to the book? For what ages would it be appropriate?
Earlier this year, Kyle’s (age 4) teachers read them Bad Dog, Marley!, and all the kids loved it! Just before Christmas, I shared A Very Marley Christmas with him. He loved it! There are a lot of words on the page, and a fairly complex storyline about a young girl waiting for snow on Christmas, but it’s a book he asks to hear again and again.
When I found out that there was a chapter book version for kids, I got it for Amanda (age 10). She was excited about Marley: A Dog Like No Other, but when she finished the book she was reading a few days later, she was hesitant to start reading it.
“My friend told me it’s sad,” she said. I told her that most dog books do end up being sad in the end, but that it was also funny, and I thought she’d enjoy it. Well, she did, in spite of me finding her in tears as she finished it up before bed one night. (On a side note, I just found out that Neil Patrick Harris narrates this Audio CD, which seems excellent).
I had finally read newspaper columnist’s John Grogran’s memoir about Life and Love with the World’s Worst Dogjust a few months before. I thought that he did a good job of sharing the trials and joys of dog ownership, as well as showing the evolution of a family.
The most delightful discovery for me in the Marley franchise are the “I Can Read” books. At first I was surprised that they featured pictures from the movie, not knowing that it had earned a PG rating and would be marketed to families. Marley & Me: Meet Marley is a Level 1 book. The type is large and the the words repeat enough to expose children to new words once they read it a few times. It’s perfectly appropriate for a curious pre-almost-reader (like Kyle), or a beginning reader. What’s more, the storyline is one which reinforces an important message for kids: sometimes dogs (or children!) disappoint, but families are forever.
There’s a second book in the series Marley to the Rescue!, in which Marley helps a neighbor girl who is attacked (this story was known to me from the book, but is relayed here in a way which is non-threatening to children). This simple story also manages to leave children with the assurance that even if we are bad at some things, we can be good — and helpful — as well.
Each of us can heartily recommend the Marley book targeted at our age range.
Managing Editor Jennifer Donovan is a contributing editor at 5 Minutes for Mom. She blogs at Snapshot about daily life with her tween daughter and preschool son.
coffee fiend says
(for the movie version) Jeniffer Aniston seems to be getting better at giving Brad Pitt a run for his money…
I read the book well before I saw the movie! I loved it, John Grogan is a great writer – he captures hilarious moments and poignant ones equally well. I was eager to see the movie because the book was so great, and I figured even if the movie was only half as good as the book, I’d enjoy it.
I was right – I enjoyed the movie so much – and it kept very well to the book. There is a lot that had to be eliminated from the book text – there was just too much to tell in the time a movie allows. There were a few added things, but they were very minor, and seemed to allow the plot to move along more smoothly to make up for what had to be cut out.
It is worth reading “Marley and Me” if you want to have lots more of what was so enjoyable about the movie!
As far as age-appropriate-ness of the movie – I considered taking my 8 & 5 year old, but changed my mind after reading the full review on pluggedinonline.com. There is some language and some mild intimate scenes & discussions (that would probably fly right over their heads, but still.)
**spoiler!** The most difficult thing for me in considering taking my kids was there is a scene showing him being put to sleep because he is old and sick. I know this is part of life, having put a dog to sleep when our kids were younger – they still miss her. But this scene, as well as the burial/saying goodbye scene, were so moving – I cried, my sister-in-law who was with me cried, I heard sniffles all around the theater – I am glad I didn’t take my girls, or they would have been bawling. So maybe this movie is best for older kids, those who are more prepared to handle the emotional level of the sad goodbye.
Overall – a good movie and a great book!
i love the movie and book,when i first read it and sawed the movie i said i like this story and book because i named my dog after that movie.