Like most six-year-olds, my little girls love fairies – Tinkerbell especially – so I wanted to see what they thought of the original Peter Pan story. Of course, it was written so long ago, over a century in fact, in 1911, that all I could find at my local library was an adaptation. The version I read the twins was published in 2009, and (thankfully) didn’t contain any of the old-fashioned prose I was expecting. It was easy to read and the only obvious change I picked up (from my memory of reading the story long ago as a child!) was the term “Indians” has been replaced with the more politically correct “natives”. It’s very likely there were many other changes but, to the writer’s credit, they were not obvious to me and the story had not lost any of its charm.
My girls loved hearing the traditional tale of the Darling children, Wendy, Michael and John, who, with a sprinkle of pixie dust, fly to the magical island of Neverland with Peter Pan, the boy who never grows up. Having watched countless television episodes of Disney’s Peter Pan spin-off Jake and the Neverland Pirates, it seemed like the book included just a few adventures, but it was enough to draw it out over a few bedtimes. It wasn’t as sanitised as the Disney stories – the pirates wanted to kill the children, and even Tinkerbell had a jealous streak!.
There’s a full-page, colour illustration facing every page of text, which helps to break up the the writing. It’s also useful to help keep children interested when they’re first moving away from picture books to longer stories. The drawings seem to reflect the era the story was first written, with the characters wearing old-style clothing. I personally found the illustrations too dark, both in the colours used and the effect they created – although possibly that was the point.
In any case, this is a lovely book to share with your child. Just like it’s namesake, the story of Peter Pan never grows old. I’d recomend reading it to children from early primary school and then letting them read it themselves.
If they love the story, you may like to take your Brisbane kid to the Queensland Ballet’s performance of Peter Pan, which is on at the Queensland Performing Arts Centre from 26 June to 11 July, 2015.
You can buy Peter Pan from the Book Depository.* Interestingly, author Sir James Matthew Barrie gave the copyright of the Peter Pan works to London children’s hospital Great Ormond Street Hospital in 1929 and the hospital still benefits from the works.
This book kids love is written by JM Barrie and illustrated by Patricia Castelao Costa. 48pp. Published in Philadelphia by Running Press, 2009. ISBN: 9780762435432.
Read more reviews by Carissa Lovesbooks.
Carissa Lovesbooks spent her childhood devouring any book she could get her hands on. Now she’s a mum, Carissa Lovesbooks is sharing her love of storytelling with her three little munchkins – twin girls, aged 6, and Little Man, 2. While all three children love snuggling up for a story, the twins are increasingly eager to practice their reading skills and Carissa Lovesbooks is constantly looking for new books (and old favourites) to capture their imaginations and encourage their learning.
*Disclosure: I have not been paid to write this review, and the views expressed are my own. The books I review mainly come from my own collection, my local library, and sometimes what my children bring home from their school library. I also welcome books from authors and publishers, but cannot guarantee to print a review – it must be a book kids love. If you follow my link to the Book Depository to purchase this book, I will receive 5 per cent of the sale as commission.