I simply adored this movie when I was a kid. It was one of those films I would watch when I was home sick from school. I saw a copy of the book in a Scholastic Book Club one year, for something ridiculous like $5, so we ordered 6.
I read this as a book club with a few of my class members, and it was such a beautiful novel to share together.
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved every moment of it!
Age Suggestion: This is a tricky one. In terms of the story line, there's no reason even very young primary school students wouldn't enjoy it. But I think students below Grade 4 would have a hard time getting through the old fashioned language.
Ability Level: As mentioned, this is a tricky book to read simply because of the time period it was written in. Readers need to have a sound understanding of using context and tools such as dictionaries to work out unfamiliar language. I read with with Grade 5 students at expected level. Advanced Grade 4's could definitely have a go at this!
Content notes: It's worth noting that for kids who have suffered abuse, been in out of home care, or who have lost their parents may find aspects of this book challenging or triggering. For those students where these sorts of scenarios are merely fiction, it's can be a magical and uplifting story of friendship and overcoming hardship.