#StayPeculiar

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Photo by: Lizzy Botkin

Readers around the school devour Rigg’s breakout novel.

Lizzy Botkin, Staff Writer

Filled with haunting photographs accompanying an enthralling mystery, the best-selling novel, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, is making its way to the silver screen on September 30.

The novel, published in 2011, centers on 16 year old protagonist, Jacob Portman.  Jacob grew up with his grandfather always sharing tales about a group of peculiar children, with whom he claimed to have lived in a Wales orphanage after War World II.  These stories told of a boy who hosted bees inside his body and a girl who could summon fire from nothing.   After witnessing his grandfather’s gruesome death at the hands of one of the monsters he thought to be myth, Jacob heads to Wales to investigate Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Jacob was desperate to learn more about the life his grandfather led before escaping the Nazi Party.  What he finds on that tiny island in Wales, however, is more than he could have ever imagined.

What makes Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children unparalleled by other young adult books is not only its unique story and quirky characters, but also the old photographs scattered throughout the pages, each from the author’s personal collection.  

Beginning at a young age, Riggs collected photographs from flea markets and estate sales.  He found the most creepy and compelling photos were of children, and decided to entwine his favorites into a narrative about peculiar children.

The movie, coming out this Friday, is directed by Tim Burton and produced by 20th Century Fox.  Known for his gothic and quirky fantasy films, the American film director, producer, artist, writer and animator is the perfect fit to bring Rigg’s peculiar photographs and story to life on the screen.

Released in March, 2016, the first trailer gave the world a visual glimpse into the world of Miss Peregrine.  The picturesque Wales island, that is home to the eccentric orphanage, looked as if it bleeds straight from page to screen, as it embodies the quirky and bizarre nature of the children’s home.

As the scene is set, characters are introduced as well, including Jacob and Emma, the two main protagonists.  Emma, a friend of Jacob’s grandfather and a resident of Miss Peregrine’s home, is played by Ella Punrell and is, unfortunately, blatantly different from how she’s described in the novel.

Within the pages, Emma is a red-haired, somewhat scraggly, spitfire of a girl… literally. Her peculiarity, or special power, is to summon fire.  In the trailers, she is shown levitating and declaring her peculiarity as air to Jacob in one iconic trailer scene.  In the novel, a different character, Olive, is gifted with these described powers.  Lauren McCrostie plays Olive in the movie and she is seen in the trailer with Emma’s peculiarity and appearance. The two characters were essentially flip-flopped.

Peculiarities have a huge impact on the story line and characters, and the fact that they are different will undoubtedly change how the story will unfold.  Fans can only hope for the best with the reinvented female protagonists.

Actress Eva Green plays Miss Peregrine, the old, wise leader of the peculiar.  Having previously worked with Burton on another film, Green certainly embodies the same eerie quality of the novel. While this character is not as readers would have imagined, readers received this casting change positive, considering the only way to improve Miss Peregrine would to be to give her a crossbow and make her twenty years younger.  She resembles a hardcore version of Mary Poppins.

The movie is bound to be action-packed and full of thrilling twists and turns as the strange children and Jacob unravel the mystery surrounding his grandfather’s death and the deadly force looming over them.

All fans can really do until the movie is out is speculate.  Previous films, such as The Lightning Thief’s, attempt on screen, have revealed the book usually surpasses the movie. One can hope this is not the case for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  Fans put their faith in Burton and the new cast for a spectacularly peculiar movie.