With the recent holiday movie viewing, I've been thinking of children's books and films in terms of two particular themes: the child who escapes familiarity and has strange adventures (The Snowman) and the child who finds familiarity outside of an environment where he never felt he belonged (Elf).
I tend to find the latter category problematic. I grew up also feeling like I didn't particularly belong - I made friends rarely, and even my best friend and I little in common (her: athletic, brave, lovely; me: well, yeah). I loved my family but I wouldn't have been surprised to hear I was adopted, either. So it's possible that to a certain degree my problem with those books is one of jealousy -- I accepted the life I was dealt, and so should everybody else. Also, especially when the stories concern someone who realizes they "actually" belong somewhere else, and they take off without a backwards glance, I feel like they're sort of rotten. Even in Narnia, they're convinced they don't have to go back to England because they're dead, but what if they aren't? Their poor parents.