Source: Sacramento Library
Rating: 7 out of 10
Publisher: Disney Editions
Book Club: Book Eaters
Synopsis (from Booklist): Barry and Pearson, no strangers to the literary spotlight, offer humor and thrills for a young audience in this prequel to Peter Pan. At sea, unwittingly heading toward a perilous fate in a cruel king’s court, Peter and a group of fellow orphans become involved in a plot to steal a mysterious star substance that can make people fly. Teenager Molly, also aboard ship, is one of the Starcatchers, those who want to preserve the integrity of the substance and save it from falling into the wrong hands. Alas, there are evil, grabby hands all around, including those of the cruel pirate Black Stache–though by book’s end, Stache will have only one. It’s not so much the story that’s good here, though it’s a rousing tale, and to the authors’ credit, there are explanations for everything found in the classic story–from Peter’s inability to grow up to the name Neverland.
Overall Impression: Our book club chose this because we’d had a few months of heavy reading, and we were looking for something a little more light-hearted, something that we could read more for fun than edification on rainy march Sundays. With this in mind, Peter and the Starcatchers succeeded. It was a little treasure trove of Peter Pan references — how Captain Hook lost his hand, how Peter came to fly, how the island became known as Neverland. Barry and Pearson were very thoughtful in their plotting and planning, staying true to the original Barrie novel, while infusing it with a feeling all their own. The chapters were short and perfect for young readers, and the book — despite being 480 pages long — moved quickly. It was sweet and funny and, if you’re young enough, scary. I could imagine being a kid and reading this with a flashlight under the covers, telling myself, “just one more chapter!”
Positives: I think kids would really enjoy this one, and then head straight for Peter Pan to figure out what happens in Barrie’s classic story.
Negatives: As an adult, I never truly loved it. It was good, entertaining, and well-written — but not great. I think it was the repetitiveness of the plot — Have the treasure! Lose the treasure! Have the treasure! Lose the treasure! It got tiresome after a while.
Other books I’ve read by Dave Barry: I read a number of his humor books when I was younger, but have no reviews.
Other books I’ve read by Ridley Pearson: none
Other blogger opinions:
Fyrefly’s Book Blog: “ It didn’t have the same tone as Barrie’s original, but it certainly captured the spirit, and what’s more, it managed to fit in all of the elements of the story in an imaginative way without sacrificing an exciting story.”
Erin Reads: “I could have done with maybe half the antics; it got to be a little much for me.”
The Cheap Reader: “I will probably eventually pick up the next installment of the series at some point. I might even finish Peter Pan eventually.”