A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Peter and thre Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Peason, is the first of a four-book series that imagines Peter's adventures before the action chronicled in J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan. Here an orphan boy named Peter and his friend Molly overcome bands of pirates and thieves and travel to an island on a ship named Never Land. There's plenty of peril and fighting, and adult sailors and pirates get drunk on rum and grog. There's occasional and unnecessary sexual innuendo for a book aimed at tweens, and and Peter kisses a mermaid who's naked from the waist up.
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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?
This is prequel to the classic Peter Pan story is an exciting adventure by humor columnist Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The co-authors 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), lost boys, mermaids, fairies, the crocodile, fairy dust, flying, not growing up, and the enchanted island itself.
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