ENGL213-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018

Children's Classics: Popular Children's Texts and their Representation on Film

15 points
16 Jul 2018 - 18 Nov 2018


Children's Classics teaches the genre-specific nature of children's literature, its socio-historical contexts, and the significance of its re-readings as film. It introduces a selection of enduring children's texts, illustrating the importance to literary production of changing cultural context, demonstrating the importance of intertextuality in children's literature and how texts change when filmed, and promotes the skills of reading and writing.

This course introduces the genre of film as a key medium for the representation of children’s literature.  We will take a number of children’s ‘classics’, as well as three key 21st century novels for young readers, and will consider how they have been adapted and interpreted in diverse ways, using varied film technologies, as entertainment objects for children, family and adult audiences. Topics will include: the emergence of cinema as a storytelling tool; development and impact of animation and special effects technologies; the importance of fairy tales in the development of children’s media; theories of adaptation; child-centred storytelling; theories of audiences and spectatorship; genre; fantasy; gender; humour and the grotesque; horror and the uncanny; and contemporary dystopian film and fiction. The course and its assessment will focus on both written and visual material.

This course can be used towards an English major or minor. BA students who major in English would normally take at least two 100-level 15 point ENGL courses (which must include at least one of the following: ENGL117, ENGL102 or ENGL103), at least three 200-level 15 point ENGL courses, and at least two 300-level 30 point ENGL courses. Please see the BA regulations  or a student advisor for more information.

Learning Outcomes

In this course you will learn:

  • to introduce and justify a selection of the most enduring texts for children;
  • to illustrate the importance to literary production of changing cultural context;
  • to demonstrate the importance of inter-textuality in children’s literature;
  • to further demonstrate how texts can be translated and transformed by their interpretation on film;
  • to promote the skills of critical reading and writing.

    By the end of this course, students will be expected to have learned the following:
  • how to assess the worth of the ‘canon’ as it may apply to children’s literature;
  • how to read children’s literature in context-specific ways;
  • basic cinematic qualities and techniques as they may apply to viewing films for children;
  • that the intended audience for children’s films is one which constantly negotiates between child and adult viewer.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:

      Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award

      Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.


Either 15 points of ENGL at 100-level with a B pass, or 30 points of ENGL at 100-level, or any 45 points from the Arts Schedule

Timetable 2018

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Lecture A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Monday 12:00 - 13:00 E16 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct
Lecture B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Tuesday 11:00 - 13:00 A9 Lecture Theatre 16 Jul - 26 Aug
10 Sep - 21 Oct

Course Coordinator / Lecturer

Daniel Bedggood


Erin Harrington


Assessment Due Date Percentage  Description
Essay 30% 1500-1800 words
Adaptation assignment 30% 1500-1800 words
Take-home test 40%



Our core texts are:
•  JRR Tolkein’s The Hobbit (1937) and various cinematic adaptations
•  Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964) and various cinematic adaptations
•  Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (2002) and the 2009 film
•  Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games (2008) and the 2012 film
•  Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls (2011) and the 2017 film

Theoretical texts and some literary texts (such as short stories, poems and original versions of fairy tales) will be provided via Learn. Students are encouraged to start reading the novels prior to the course’s start date.

(Image: "Snow White's Evil Stepmother" by mon-mothma, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.)

Course links

Library portal

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $746.00

International fee $3,038.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 10 people apply to enrol.

For further information see Humanities and Creative Arts.

All ENGL213 Occurrences

  • ENGL213-18S2 (C) Semester Two 2018