One of the things I love most about this story is that it is the rare book which features an entire family having an adventure together. It's true that all the characters are more 'types' and not really fleshed out as individuals, but that really doesn't matter so much in this case. You don't really read a book like this for deep character development. It's basically just a fun little romp with a dash of danger, a bit of humor and a lot of fun. In short, a perfect little summer read aloud.
I always love to follow up reading a book with watching the film adaptation when available. I had somehow escaped watching this one as a child so I had no idea what to expect. Sadly, we were hugely disappointed to find that the story was altered so much as to make it nearly unrecognizable - and with a pretty lame musical score to boot! I gather that it's a fairly well regarded movie so maybe it's just a case of poor timing, but we didn't make it 30 minutes before we couldn't stand it anymore and had to turn it off.