May 10, 2012

Peter and the Starcatchers

Finally got around to starting this series.  I probably would have started it sooner had I known the audio version was read by Jim Dale!

So Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson take us back to the beginning, before Barrie's original Peter Pan and let us in on how Peter became able to fly, doesn't age, the history of Neverland island, the mermaids, the native inhabitants, the fairies, and of course the pirate captain.  In this book he is not yet Captain Hook, but an evil pirate known as Black Stache.

It's great fun, full of action, adventure and some potent scares.  These pirates are good and mean.  Stache thinks nothing of making men jump off his boat to lighten the load. The book also takes a great angle with the native islanders, redeeming the story from that horribly racist Disney cartoon, without falling into the equally nauseating Pocahontas trap.

One thing I wondered about was the choices the authors made to riff on.  This is clearly more of a riff on the Disnyfied version than the original Barrie.  In the book Peter's hair is described as "light."  in the movie and this book it's more of an orangish red.  Smee is described more like the cartoon version.  Same with Tink.  I don't know if the authors did this because the movie is more well-known or because the publisher is Disney.

I have yet to see the stage play, but I hear it's even better than the book!  I enjoyed this very much and hope to get more students at school to give it a try.  It's a think book and seems to intimidate.  I'll find a few snatches to read aloud that will hook them, so to speak.

Speaking of read-alouds, we've been cranking at home.  We read the second Familiars book, Secrets of the Crown, and that was almost better than the first one. The evil bunny, though, still cracks me up and makes me think of Monty Python & the Holy Grail. Then we finished off the Sister's Grimm series with The Council of Mirrors.  Tears were shed, but plenty of laughs as well.  Then we just finished breezing through The White Giraffe, one of Annette's favorites.

And I had one of those perfect librarian moments last week!  I've been reading from a different genre each week.  The week before had been biography; last week was informational.  I finished reading aloud to a class and was preparing them for checking out when a boy raised his hand and said, "Wait, can you read another story from that book about the brothers?" (He's referring to Knucklehead, which is hilarious and awsome.)  I asked the class if they wanted me to and, yes, they did.  This was the first time I know of they didn't just rush off to check out books.  Afterwards, I told the kid that he should get his third grade teacher to do it as a read aloud and he quickly said no.  Why not, I wondered.  Because, he said, they wouldn't be able to read it in such a funny way!