In Sixth Grade I found James Barrie's Peter Pan in the library. My heart ached for Wendy when she realizes she was too old for Neverland, knowing I was on the cusp of growing up myself. And I did not like the idea one bit.
I have been enjoying the Moondance Press Read Aloud Classics series which presents classic literature packaged for preschoolers ages 2 to 6. My own love of the classics came from the Classics Illustrated Comics, which inspired me to read the novels by junior high. The idea of introducing characters and story lines to even younger children is brilliant. Perhaps children will have cozy memories of the stories and when older will want to read them in their original form.
The newest volume in the series is Peter Pan. The illustrations by Victoria Tentler-Krylov are beautiful, with lots of colorful detail, interpreting the magic and adventure of Neverland.
Barrie's story is retold by Charles Nurnberg. The basic story we all know and love is presented.
Peter entices Wendy and her brother to Neverland where they will have adventures with mermaids and pirates, Indians and the Lost Boys. After rescuing Tiger Lily from Captain Hook Wendy decides it is time to return home. She invites the Lost Boys to come with them and be adopted.
Leaving the underground hideout they are captured by the pirates. Hook sneaks into the hideout and leaves "something in his water that will make him sick." And of course, Tinker Bell drinks the bad water and get sick. Peter asks, "Do you believe in fairies? Do you want to save Tinker Bell's Life? If so, clap your hands three times."
I can imagine sitting with a tot on my knee, clapping our hands together. Perhaps this one moment most of all captures children's imaginations: the empowerment of saving Tink's life is just so wonderful.
Peter saves Wendy and the boys by fighting the pirates. A frightened Hook jumps into the water where the crocodile is waiting. "And that was the end of Captain Hook."
As a child the dream of staying a child forever was dear and precious. Who wants to leave a time when believe you can fly and on a summer's day playing in the wading pool you imagine yourself a mermaid?
Childhood also has its fears and frights. There are pirates to battle and crocs that threaten. In Peter Pan, children always win and the dark and ugly parts of life are vanquished.
Learn about other books in the series:
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Around the World in 80 Days
I received a free ebook from the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Read Aloud Classic: Peter Pan
J. M. Barrie, retold by Charles Nurnberg
illustrated by Victoria Tentler-Krylov
October 17, 2017
ISBN 9781633222229, 1633222225
Hardcover 28 pages $17.95