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Peter Pan in Scarlet


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Now in paperback, the best-selling official sequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan


McCaughrean won a competition to pen this sequel to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan (see Children's Bookshelf, Sept. 14). She faced prodigious challenges in continuing this classic character's story the original book's tidy resolution and a croc-eaten Hook among them. McCaughrean's complex tale, set in 1926, finds Wendy, the "Old Boys" and John (Michael having perished in the Great War) dreaming repeatedly of Neverland, whose trappings (an eye patch, a live crocodile, etc.) keep turning up nearby. Wendy knows something's amiss, and she and the men set out to catch a fairy in Kensington Gardens (for its flight-inducing dust) and to grow small enough to make a return visit. In one of the book's most charming aspects, the group, having regained childhood and reunited with Peter Pan, loses sight of their mission: "The grown-ups who had set out from London full of good intentions, clean forgot why they had come." Neverland is now autumnal and sere, with its lagoon poisoned and fairy legions warring mindlessly; and a mysterious gent named Ravello, shrouded in unraveling wool, has turned the beasts into circus performers. An adventure aboard the abandoned Jolly Roger culminates in the League of Pan's rescue by Ravello, who flatters Pan into accepting him as valet for their next quest to Neverpeak's summit for Hook's hidden treasure. Pan's resulting transformation may stretch some readers' credulity, and this sequel is more densely plotted than the original. But McCaughrean's story, with its picaresque descriptions, faithfully rekindled characters and an ending that leaves room for sequels, will keep the pages turning. What's missing, and surely impossible to recapture like Mrs. Darling's one elusive kiss, gone to Peter is Barrie's rueful, ambivalent, ennui-infused omniscient narrative voice, which made itself nearly as irresistible as Pan himself. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Gr 5 Up-In this sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy (first published in 1911), the grown-up Lost Boys suffer from bad dreams leaking out of Neverland that result in cutlasses, pistols, pirate eye-patches, and other things appearing under their pillows. After a living crocodile shows up in the Gentleman's Club of the former Lost Boys, Wendy realizes that something is very wrong and that they must return to Neverland. In order to become young again, they wear their own children's clothes and obtain fairy dust for flying, and set off to heal it. However, when they reunite with Peter Pan, they forget their original mission and become caught up in the wild joys of his imaginative adventures. After they find Captain Hook's abandoned boat with a map to hidden treasure, Peter Pan dons Hook's second-best suit of scarlet and takes command of the ship. The League is accompanied by Fireflyer, an impudent, ravenous fairy with an astounding capacity for telling lies, and Ravello, a charming but ominous circus man who seems to be made entirely of snarled bits of yarn. As they travel closer to Neverpeak, where the treasure allegedly is buried, the menaces surrounding their quest escalate to the point where the League members become unsure of one another's true nature and loyalty. McCaughrean captures the excitement of the original story without the overly precious Victorian glorification of childhood. Wendy and the former Lost Boys are developed characters (with a welcome surprise of a gender-change that's believable within the scope of the story). Even Peter Pan, who struggles to remain as brash and carefree as he ever was, is not immune to change and consequences. Pen-and-ink illustrations add to the enjoyment of the story.-Farida S. Dowler, Mercer Island Library, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

It's about adventure and bravery and cowardice and aching poignancy - and in this book McCaughrean has captured the lot. * THE DAILY EXPRESS *
The official sequel to Peter Pan needs to be an exceptional book, and that's exactly what we have in Peter Pan in Scarlet... What McCaughrean has done is nothing short of miraculous. It's enough to make you believe in fairies. * PHILIP ARDAGH, THE GUARDIAN *
a spectacularly impressive work * THE RADIO TIMES *
it's hard to see how she could have done it better. * THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY *
By some mysterious process of osmosis, she has brilliantly mixed Barrie's preoccupations with her own, aping his engaging style but also adding to it; the result is a little masterpiece. * CRAIG BROWN, THE MAIL ON SUNDAY *

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