Want personalized picks that fit your family?

Set preferences to see our top age-appropriate picks for your kids.

Get age-based picks

Peter and the Starcatchers

Book review by
Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Peter and the Starcatchers Book Poster Image
A swashbuckling high-seas adventure.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 9+
Based on 40 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages

Lots of fighting, children often in peril, some shooting and stabbing, Peter cuts off Stache's hand.


A surprising amount of sexual innuendo, and Peter kisses a mermaid who is naked from the waist up.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Sailors and pirates indulge in grog and rum, get drunk, and pass out.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that there's a fair amount of sexual innuendo for a book aimed at tweens. There's plenty of peril and fighting as well, and adult sailors and pirates get drunk on rum and grog.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPuppeteergirl July 27, 2011

Worried about this book?

I really enjoy this series! I read it to my brothers and they beg me to continue when its time to stop. The only thing that bothers me about this series is the... Continue reading
Parent of a 11 and 13 year old Written byzapfam May 30, 2009

Best Peter Pan Story Ever

This has got to be the best story ever....other than the two that follow it..Its based off the Disney Peter Pan cartoon really. And is a Disney Book actually.... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bySelenaGomezfan110 November 9, 2010

Why I rated this Iffy for ages 9-10

Peter is DEFINETLY NOT a good role model. He killed Mermaids!!!!! I think so, anyway, either that or he just hurt them. I can't remember. and there is some... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old June 23, 2010
i have always loved all of these books! the only thing dissapointing was the end of the 3rd one!

What's the story?

Peter and four other orphans are taken aboard a rickety old ship, the Never Land, to be delivered as servants to the evil king of Rundoon. Also on board the ship is Molly, daughter of the British Ambassador to Rundoon, and a mysterious trunk filled with a special treasure. The feared pirate Captain Black Stache knows there's a valuable treasure on board, though he doesn't know what it is. Peter befriends Molly and finds out that she and her father are Starcatchers, members of a centuries-old secret society that protects humanity by making sure that evil people don't get their hands on starstuff, magical material that falls from the stars and changes the nature of everything it touches.

Through storm, treachery, and shipwreck, Peter, Molly, and the boys end up on an island with the treasure, the pirates, fierce natives, the villainous first mate of the Never Land, mermaids created by the starstuff, and a giant crocodile. While Peter and Molly try to get the starstuff for the Starcatchers, everyone else is battling to get it for themselves.

Is it any good?

Though this book is unnecessarily long, it's an exciting adventure, fun in its own right.

It rarely works when a modern author seeks to write a sequel (or in this case a prequel) to a classic, and humor columnist Dave Barry, one of our reigning Sultans of Snide, hardly seems like the person to give it a try. But though his background shows up in the occasional and unnecessary sexual innuendo, otherwise this works surprisingly well.

He and co-author Ridley Pearson make some good choices at the outset. They do not attempt, in style, plot, or atmosphere, to mimic J.M. Barrie's masterpiece. Instead they cleverly create and bring together almost all of the characters and elements of the original: pirates, natives (no longer Indians in these culturally sensitive times), lost boys, mermaids, fairies, the crocodile, fairy dust, flying, not growing up, and the enchanted island itself.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what this story has in common with the original. How is it similar, and where does it differ? Which do you like better, and why? Also, what are the book's major themes? Kids: Do you think not growing up is a good thing or a bad thing? Why?

Book details

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate