Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Second Star To The Right

Hola my favorite readers!  So my firehouse book club strikes again.  This time my a rather unusual version of my favorite Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie was slipped into my locker.  What made this version remarkable...and hence the loaning of it to me, is the very cool and interactive illustrations by MinaLima a British duo who met on the set of Harry Potter and now share their unique vision and love of books with the rest of us.  Ok, who's ready to ramble?  As always SPOILERS AHEAD!
I'm sure that most of you know the story of Peter Pan, but if not here we go.  Mr. and Mrs. Darling are the slightly beleaguered parents of Wendy, John and Michael.  The children are looked after by a huge dog referred to as Nana.  One night, after poor Nana is banished from the house in disgrace over an incident with some nasy medicine the children are visited by the infamous Peter Pan.  Peter Pan along with his companion the sassy fairy Tinkerbell have come to the Darling children's window to look for his shadow.  He finds it and tries to put it back on with soap, getting himself a light teasing from Wendy when she wakes up.  She assists him in sewing the shadow back on and after some exchanges of kisses and thimbles agree's to go with him to Neverland and tell the Lost Boys stories.  John and Michael come along and after a bit of pixie dust they are on their way.  The jealous Tink almost gets Wendy killed when she convinces Tootles, the sweetest of the Lost Boys that Peter wanted them to shoot her.  Lucky for all involved it hit a button and bounced off, so instead of a funeral the boys build her a little house.  Many adventures are had involving the Indians, mermaids, Lost Boys, fairies, flying, hunting and all kinds of wondrous things that appeal to the young...and those of us who never really grow up.  Eventually Wendy tires of playing house with Peter and decides to take her brothers home.  Peter Pan is upset, but passes it off and sends them on their way along with the rest of the Lost Boys who want to come home and be adopted by the Darling family.  What the crew doesn't realize is that the notorious Captain Jas. Hook is waiting with his pirates above ground to capture them all. See there has been a great dislike between Captain Hook and Peter Pan ever since Peter cut off Hook's had and fed it to a crocodile...along with a clock that warns Hook when he is near.   Wendy and the boys are captured and the Captain slips poison onto Peter's medicine.  Peter wakes up and changes his mind about Wendy leaving and goes to drink his medicine.  Tink in an effort to save Peter, drinks the poison instead and almost dies.  Lucky for us we can bring back a fairy by clapping our hands.  Peter and Tink set out to rescue the rest of the lot.  There is much bravery, fighting, crocodiles, hooks, baiting, switching and all around mayhem and finally Peter prevails.  The children minus Peter all head home to the distraught and anxious arms of their parents.  After the whole story comes out, the parents agree to adopt the rest of the Lost Boys.  Peter continues to come back on occasion to take Wendy to Neverland for brief amounts of time, but his sense of time is skewed and one time he comes back and she is an adult.  Peter continues to come first for Wendy's daughter and then later her granddaughter.  This continues to this day.
World Building - This is a children's fantasy story set in old school London, and mostly in the amazing Neverland!  The world is built by the author in a way that makes you feel like you are talking to a young child.  The world is both very complete and everchanging according to the whims of the children.  Peter especially can change his little corner of dream land giving us a complete yet ever changing landscape on which the imagination plays out.  Seriously though, Neverland has it all, pirates, mermaids, fairies, natives, a group of Lost Boys, magic, mystery adventure, it is the ultimate fantasy destination.

Story - The whole story of Peter Pan always feels like an ongoing dream to me.  I like how the story for this book is pretty complete, the way it is told makes you feel like there were tons of stories before this one, and plenty to come.  The story of the Darling children is very fun, and exciting and keeps a readers interest no matter the age.  It is different in style then most modern day books, and has a definite tongue in cheek feel that I adore.  The author is able to both make one feel like he remembers being a child very well, while at the same time able to point out some of the absurdities of both children and adults.

Character - I love the characters in this book, they all play a role and are all special in their own way.  My favorites are of course Peter Pan, Captain Hook and Tinker Bell.  I love the sheer wild abandon of Peter Pan.  While he very much embodies the eternal child, selfish, willful, petulant when he doesn't get his way, he is more then that.  He is a wild spirit that can't bear to be tied down, he is freedom itself for good or bad and I totally identify with his good points and his bad ones as well.
 Captain Hook has always been one of my favorite villains.  To start with the guy is a pirate...which is always a good thing in my book.  He is also apologetically mean and violent towards pretty much everybody, but the author does give him several moments of reflection in the book.  There are multiple places where we see Hook reflect on how and why he got to where he is.  We see him be strong and anti-heroic and we see him hurt and scared, a very well rounded villain.  Tinker Bell is just a sassy ball of energy and she is my role model teeheehee.  I mean the girl has attitude like nobodies business, defends what's hers, flies AND shows bits of bravery and selflessness when really needed..yep my kind of girl.  So yeah, good characters.

Editing - The style of the book is the omniscient narrator who talks directly to the reader.  It works perfectly for this book as the narrator is snarky guy who sets the tone perfectly.  The editing is well done and the book flows perfectly and simply as befitting a children's book.

Quotes - Peter Pan is one my favorite books to quote.  I could fill pages and pages with the most perfect little gems.  "Second star to the right and straight on till morning"  "To die will be an awfully big adventure" "When the first baby laughed for the first time, its laugh broke into a thousand pieces, and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies.”  “Never is an awfully long time.”  “All children, except one, grow up.”  “Oh, the cleverness of me!”  “Pan, who and what art thou?" he cried huskily. "I'm youth, I'm joy," Peter answered at a venture, "I'm a little bird that has broken out of the egg.”  I could go on and on, but then I would pretty much just retype the whole book.  I just love the phrasing of so much of this book, it really appeals to me.

The Play - This book actually started out as a play that the author expanded into book form.  As a theatre junkie AND a huge fan of this story one could say that it is a match made in literary heaven.  I have seen the play live many times and my Mamma bought me the Mary Martin version on VHS for me to watch over and over and over again.  This is the definition of pure imagination to me and I love every fairy assisted drop of it.

Illustrations - I have several versions of this book all with different and amazing illustrations.  Since this post was inspired by the MinaLima version that is what will be used to illustrate this particular post...there will probably be other posts with other illustrations.  This book lends itself to so many styles of art and interpretations that I could probably collect a thousand different artistic versions, all with their own amazing takes on the various characters, places and situations.  This particular version not only has some very cool illustrations, but there are also many interactive elements that really add to the atmosphere of the books.

Overall Impressions - This is with out a doubt one of my absolute favorite stories.  It has everything I love about reading, fairies, mermaids, pirates, adventures, quests all of it.  I love the huge scope of imagination, I love the unlimited potential for pretty much anything to happen, I love the mix of children and adults, I love the idea that you never have to grow all the way up.  I just love it!  I give this book 10 out of 10 never birds and will read it over and over again.
Happy Reading Everybody!

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