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Peter and Wendy at 100

“Peter Pan is a great and refining and uplifting benefaction to this sordid and money-mad age.”—Mark Twain

We all know Peter Pan as “the boy who wouldn’t grow up” — funny then that J.M. Barrie‘s novel Peter and Wendy is now 100 years old. To celebrate, a really great Annotated Peter Pan was just released. You can order it from the library today!

I know that Peter Pan is kind of for kids, but if you ever enjoyed the movies (maybe the Disney movie or Hook) or one of the plays, there’s a good chance you’ll find something interesting in this new edition.

For me, the best thing about Peter Pan is his stubbornness and carefree nature. He clings to youth, though it puts him at odds with the world at large (and his nemesis Captain Hook in particular).

The conflict between Peter (“Proud and insolent youth” as Captain Hook calls him) and Captain Hook (“Dark and sinister man” according to Peter) is central to the original play and all of the Peter Pan stories we know. Peter represents youth (reckless, carefree, innocent but boastful)  and Captain Hook is unsavory adulthood (governed by rules, cruel, and petty).

The new book is full of period photographs, full-color images by some great illustrators, commentary on stage and screen versions, and lots of supplementary material, too.

Growing up is inevitable and, really, not so bad, but looking back at Peter’s adventures in Neverland, it’s easy to lose yourself in memories of childhood wonder as well as the poignancy of what we lose when we grow up.

If you like Peter Pan, but need something written more for your age group, check out some of these books:

Peter Pan in Scarlet (the official sequel) by Geraldine McCaughrean – In August 2004 the Special Trustees of Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital, who hold the copyright in Peter Pan, launched a worldwide search for a writer to create a sequel to J.M. Barrie’s timeless masterpiece. Renowned and multi award-winning English author Geraldine McCaughrean won the honor to write this official sequel, Peter Pan in Scarlet. In the 1930s, all is not well. Nightmares are leaking out of Neverland. Fearing for Peter Pan’s life, Wendy and the Lost Boys go back to Neverland — with the help of the fairy Fireflyer — only to discover their worst nightmares coming true!

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson – This is a prequel to Peter Pan and the start of a whole series of Peter Pan books by Barry and Pearson. Soon after Peter, an orphan, sets sail from England on the ship Never Land, he befriends and assists Molly, a young Starcatcher, whose mission is to guard a trunk of magical stardust from a greedy pirate and the native inhabitants of a remote island.

 

Capt. Hook : the adventures of a notorious youth by J.V. Hart – This book describes the youthful adventures of J.M. Barrie’s classic character, Captain Hook, from his days at Eton to his voyages on the high sea. The book is also full of great illustrations by Brett Helquist, illustrator of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

 

 

Corey, Digital Learning Librarian

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