Bridge To Terabithia: Book and Movie Review
In a land far away there was once a king, named Jess Aarons, and a queen, named Leslie Burke. They ruled over this magical land justly and fair, until tragedy struck.
By now most people know about the movie Bridge to Terabithia, but unlike many movie releases based on books, the book wasn’t really advertised as even existing, even though it had won the Newbery Medal. Mostly because the book is a lot older than the more recent Disney movie; yet still the plot of both holds rather similar to where there are only minor details that become different between the two.
Bridge to Terabithia focuses around an artistic and depressed fifth grader, Jess, who ends up becoming best friends with the newest girl at his school, Leslie. Originally at their first meeting Jess isn’t actually sure whether Leslie is a boy or a girl, because of her tomboy like look and personality, which was not something that was reflected in the movie, where it was clear she was a girl. The story focuses around the interesting relationship developed from these two and the imaginary world they create, as well as the aftermath of a terrible event.
Personally this is probably one of the few books I have truly cried over because of how heartbreaking the climax can be. The two grow with a deep friendship, which culminates for them by sharing a fictional world they create together in the forest near their houses. They call this world Terabithia, though it’s never actually stated where they came up with the name, the author, Katherine Paterson, does mention she likely had gotten the name from the Chronicles of Narnia, which gets mentioned in the book when Leslie tells Jess that he should read those books to be a better king. This was yet another part that was missed in the films.
Regardless the tale itself has often been called by many people one of the best children’s book of our time or even ever written. It doesn’t cherry coat serious events that happen, and it is often a story many people, especially readers can connect with on personal levels, since the average reader is introverted, and has likely lost at least someone in their life and had to deal with that. This story manages to truly touch upon how tragedy can still tell a wonderful tale.
Of course not everyone will love this story, it does have a sad ending, and the focus of the book happens to be more on how Jess handles the relationship and then loss of the person who had pretty much changed his world, where the movie tries to lighten things up slightly by showing a bit more of the inventive world the two had created. Regardless either one manages to provide the same plot, which is unique when it comes to the release of a book as a movie these days.
No matter how you might feel about this book, it definitely manages to show some literary beauty, and tells a sad story in such a unique and interesting spin, and all with a focus around children! It is definitely a book worth the time, and you can even make it a project of reading the book with your child (if you have one) then watching both the movies it was adapted into!
Either way, enjoy your exploration of Terabithia; my kids certainly do.