As I read Nim's Island, written by Wendy Orr, I was drawn to the life that Nim and her father have created on the island. The two live in seclusion and have many modern amenities such as cell phones, computers, and satellite capabilities. Their life is very similar to the characters in Swiss Family Robinson (a favorite classic), only Nim and her father choose to live alone and are very happy with their circulstances. The book is a great little read and children (and adults) will enjoy the details of their adventures. Readers will also find Nim's island/animal friends delightful.
When comparing the book and movie I found that they were slightly different and that the translation to film added details that enhanced the book but didn't take away from the story. The film version gave more information about the writer's life. Alex Rover has quite a few "conversations" with the hero of her novels and the hero encourages her to leave her apartment and take a chance in order to help Nim - even though adventure is something that Alexandra only writes about. Nim, on the other hand, is a real adventurer and is relying on her email connection with Alex, the hero, to get her through a scary time. Throughout the movie, Alex's father is portrayed as the adventurer in the novels. The movie gives more scenes to him (played by Gerard Butler) than the book allows, but it also shows more of the father-daughter relationship and the special connection the two have.
The "bad guys" that are trying to take over the island are tourists in both the movie and book but they have different names. At one point in the movie they come ashore and have a big party/luau. Nim meets a boy (not mentioned in the book) from the ship as she is setting up her own attack to get rid of the intruders. Even he understands the importance of keeping the island secluded.
The entire book and movie is full of fun adventure and survival action. I believe this would be a great book for students to read and compare/contrast with the movie. Comparing and contrasting the two would lead to a opportunity to discuss creative license and leaving out sections of the book that might have been important to the story or made the movie even better.