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Peter Pan in Scarlet
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Some 20 years have passed since the events chronicled in Peter Pan. The Lost Boys have grown up, little Michael has been killed in WWI, and the rest have careers and families. But dreams are leaking out of the Neverland, disturbing their sleep, and leaving all-too-real souvenirs. Gathering together with Wendy, they decide they must become children again and fly back to Neverland to find out what's wrong.
Once there they discover a land that is deteriorating, but they forget their mission. Finding the derelict "Jolly Roger" and a treasure map on board, they join Peter on an expedition to find Hook's treasure. They are joined by the mysterious Ravello, a circus-master, who becomes Peter's butler. But in Neverland, adults can only mean trouble.
Is it any good?
McCaughrean has sucked out the joy, the effervescent spirit, the humor -- everything that made Peter Pan a classic -- and produced a plodding slog of a story. The original may have been dark, but it was never dreary; it was woven of dreams and fairy dust. But here a scene involving quicksand is all too emblematic.
The journey to and up the Neverpeak alone is so tedious and sprawling, not to mention grinding and miserable, that many readers who have hung in that far will drop out. Now Peter seems like a crabby old man who grumbles about pains in his joints. This joyless, forced march badly needs an infusion of happy thoughts.