I am currently reading my way through a long list of science fiction and fantasy titles. (http://www.npr.org/2011/08/07/138938145/science-fiction-and-fantasy-finalists if you are interested in the list).
Welcome to Neverland! For three lucky children living in London, nothing could seem better than a faraway world where you were free to play all day. In this magical world, there would be no school. And no parents to tell you to brush your teeth. Or to sit up straight, or to eat your vegetables. Best of all, in this make-believe world no one would ever grow up..
Children would remain children forever. As Wendy, John, and Michael and are about to discover, this far away land is not so very faraway after all. In fact, it is but a short dream away. On a world within a cloud called Neverland. It truly is a dream come true!
But no dream lasts forever.
Every child has to grow up eventually. Unless, of course, that child is named Peter Pan.
***Wanda’s Summer Carnival of Children’s Literature***
I remember my mother reading this aloud to my two younger sisters. I was fancying myself to be “too old” for such tales, but found myself doing something or other, close enough that I could listen in. I think it must have been a Disney-fied version of the tale, because there were several aspects to the story which startled me this time around.
I was surprised at how shark-like Peter actually was, both in his toothiness and his lurking, waiting for an advantage over the adults in the book. Also surprising was the level of violence when dealing with the pirates. I can’t remember if the Redskins featured in my childhood version (I don’t think so), so I found that whole aspect to be unexpected.
Tinker Bell isn’t quite such a sweet little Disney character in the original, is she? Rather more vindictive and jealous than I would have previously thought. And apparently she lounges in a negligée in her cubby hole, as Peter threatens at one point to open the curtain and display her to all the boys that way.
The female characters (Tinker Bell, Wendy, and Tiger Lily) are all set up to be rivals for Peter’s attention. Wendy sort of wins the competition by being willing to play mother, although it’s pretty obvious that none of them are completely sold on that particular role. But if it’s the only gig going, what choice is there? I was surprised at all the sexual undercurrents that seemed to swirl under the surface of the story, although I think I caught a whiff of that during my mother’s reading.
I wonder if Peter Pan is what got William Golding’s mind working towards Lord of the Flies? It’s got me thinking that I want to finally read that classic as well.