Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

 

ChildrenFantasy

Peter Pan Peter PanJ. M. Barrie; Dover Publications 1999WorldCatThere probably is not a child in the English speaking world who doesn’t know about Peter Pan. He’s the boy who won’t grow up. He fights redskins and pirates. He has a band of Lost Boys. And he convinces Wendy, Michael, and John to run away to Never, Never Land with him. There are many versions of this story in films, on stage, and in books who expand the story or use it as a basis for another.

The original Peter Pan, though, is still an excellent book to read. However, don’t think of the Disney version of the tale. Tinkerbell is a mean little hussy in the original version. Peter is a vain, forgetful boy. He lives for now – tomorrow is not important and yesterday is forgotten. If you know the original Broadway play version (Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby both played it on film), that’s very close to Barrie’s vision.

The third person voice gets personal with the reader – “I hope you want to know what became of the other boys. They were waiting below…” Children quickly get involved with the narrator and with Peter and Wendy.

Have I ever read Peter Pan before, or just think I had? I don’t think I really have. The scene near the end with Slightly (one of the Lost Boys) doesn’t ring in my memory. But now that I have, I think it will be a good book to read to my granddaughters when they come to stay the night next weekend.

J.M. Barrie remembered and understood children’s fantasies. His Peter Pan reminds us of ours, too.

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