5 Scottish Picture Books Perfect for Screen

Spread from Just Imagine
Category: Bookbug

This year, for Book Week Scotland, we're on the hunt for the country's favourite book-to-screen adaptation. These are either film or television adaptations of books set in Scotland or written by Scottish authors. The Gruffalo, Peter Pan, and the Katie Morag Stories are all shortlisted, but we thought it would be fun to select some other Scottish picture books that we think would make brilliant television shows or films.


Manfred the Baddie - The Movie

Manfred the Baddie
I've always felt Manfred's exploits could fill the pages of a novel, not just a picture book, so it would be thrilling to see John Fardell's baddest baddie of all make an extended appearance on the big screen. What happened to make him so bad in the first place? And how does he manage to spend his new-found wealth? There's so much more to learn about the chap, but more than anything, it would be a joy to see the visual detail of Fardell's illustrations brought to life. And we can already hear Robbie Coltrane as the voice of Manfred, cackling away down a dark alley. 


Catherine Rayner - A TV Mini-Series

Augustus and his Smile
Each of Rayner's glorious creatures would deserve an episode to themselves in what could be the perfect CBeebies mini-series (think Tinga Tinga Tales but with more Scottish accents and classy illustrations). And with Harris's journey to independence, Sylvia's quest to find a friend, and Iris and Isaac's efforts at conflict resolution, the moral messages in this series for little ones would also be second to none.


The Boy and the Bunnet - A Musical

The Boy and the Bunnet
Already a hugely successful stage show, James Robertson's magical story of a boy called Neil who heads off in pursuit of adventure is crying out for an animated adaptation. With its beautiful musical score (imagine this performed by RSNO), dreamy illustrations (reminiscent of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman), and enchanting use of Scots, this would make perfect Autumn season viewing for little ones and their families.


Jack and The FlumFlum Tree - A Short Film

Jack and the Flum Flum Tree

Julia Donaldson may already have an enviable array of TV adaptations under her belt, but in my view this one has been overlooked for too long. It has all the elements of brilliant children's TV - action, adventure, friendship, and a resourceful granny at the heart of it all! David Roberts's illustrations are perfect on paper, but perhaps a real life cast would really bring this wacky tale to life: Cherry Campbell (who plays Katie Morag on CBeebies) would make a perfect red-cheeked Rose... We just need to track down a Jack and a Stu to join her!


You Choose / Just Imagine - A TV Mini-Series

You Choose
Nick Sharrat's illustrations are bright, bold, and funny - perfect for children's TV! The fact that You Choose and Just Imagine have no fixed narrative makes them ideal for adaptation too, as the options are limitless: they could become an enchanting musical mini-series, or even a fact-based show looking at different environments/homes/modes of transport. We personally think it would make a brilliant Mr Benn-esque mini-series, with a different character from the book - caveman, princess, gladiator - taking off on a new, exciting adventure each week. Where will they go? That's for the TV producers to choose...


These are just a few picture book-to-screen adaptations we'd love to see - can you think of any others? Leave us a note in the comments below!  

And don't forget to vote for your favourite Scottish book-to-screen adaptations before 22 November!