British-written or themed children's novels have always held a rare fascination in America, with Harry Potter, THE Lord Of The Rings and THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE just three examples of recent Hollywood hits.

And this pan-Atlantic love affair shows no signs of stopping anytime soon, as a wealth of British classics rear their heads time and again in the realms of glitzy American Tinseltowndom.

But there are, it seems, a handful of classic homegrown children's stories for the US movie industry to capitalise on, with CHARLOTTE'S WEB making its return to the big screen after 23 years featuring the eerily mature Dakota Fanning in the lead role.

With the voices of Julia Roberts, Steve Buscemi, John Cleese and Oprah Winfrey among the many big names in the cast, this production seems to tick all the boxes for a successful children's film.

And while Tolkienites wait for the next instalment of the very English Middle Earth work, THE HOBBIT, one young American author's efforts should keep them going this Christmas.

ERAGON, a story about dragons, elves, swords and magic, is based on a novel by teenager CHRISTOPHER PAOLINI and features the normal mix of fantasy elements based around a medieval English theme.

The dragon-filled film managed to jump into second place in the US movie charts this weekend, taking $23.4 million (£11.9 million) while CHARLOTTE'S WEB made third place with a total $12 million (£6.1 million).

18/12/2006 11:33:06