The animated version of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Snail and the Whale has won the 2021 BolognaRagazzi CrossMedia Award (BRAW), the annual prize celebrating children’s titles adapted for other media.
The nearly 20-year old picture book was made into a 30-minute short film by London-based Magic Light Pictures and originally broadcast on the BBC on Christmas Day 2019. Rights have been sold to broadcasters and streaming services in over 15 countries. The film was directed by Max Lang and Daniel Snaddon with the English language voice actors include Sally Hawkins, Rob Brydon and the late Dame Diana Rigg.
The BRAW judges said: “The story and the way it has been transformed into a short movie feels epic in its scope and delivery. The movie is charming and beautifully rendered. It is also very faithful to the original text of the picture book; it brings wonderfully enlarged characters to life and expands visually the narrative by representing sea life with a 3D of delightful quality."
“The Snail and the Whale” is the seventh adaptation by Magic Light of a Donaldson/Scheffler property, three of which have been nominated for Oscars: 2009’s “The Gruffalo”, 2012’s “Room on the Broom” and 2015’s “Stick Man”.
The Snail and the Whale has shifted just over 1.6m units for almost £8m in all print editions through Nielsen BookScan for Macmillan Children’s Books. M.d. Belinda Ioni Rasmussen said the title’s themes of “kindness, friendship and appreciation of our natural world possibly resonates with readers more than ever nearly 20 years later. The animation complements the picture book perfectly and our longstanding relationship with Magic Light means that we absolutely believe in the approach they take with Julia Donaldson's and Axel Scheffler's stories and know that their films will do justice to the original.”
The BRAW jury also gave a Special Mention to Flying Eye Books, the children’s imprint of Hackney-based graphic novel and illustrated independent Nobrow Press for “Hilda” the adaptation of Luke Pearson’s graphic novels by Silvergate Media, which has been streaming on Netflix since 2018.
The judges said: "The TV series is a great adaptation of a great story, with excellent screenplay, witty dialogues and a modern style that manages to be visually faithful to the graphic novel. The stories of the TV series go beyond the books and capture the mystery and magic of Hilda's world."
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