4 out of 4 stars
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Have you ever read Peter Pan and been left with too many questions? Like, how could Peter fly? Have you wondered why he could understand Tinker Bell? If so, Dreaming of Neverland: Peter's Story by Janet Contreras is the book for you.
Peter Pankhurst is an adventurous little boy who is quite good at getting himself into trouble. Used to being the center of attention, his world is turned upside down with the arrival of his baby sister. He soon realizes, though, that this affords him newfound freedom to explore, as all eyes are on baby Annie. He starts with small adventures - a trip to the end of the block. Soon, he's brave enough to explore the park on his own. When he learns that a pirate ship will be docking nearby, he begs his parents to take him to see it. When they refuse, he sets off on his own. He decides there would be no harm in taking a peek inside, but he doesn't count on falling asleep and stowing away onboard. Where will Peter end up? Follow along on Peter's greatest adventure yet.
I've heard or seen a few retellings of the Peter Pan story including Hook, but I've never seen a prequel that explains the beginnings as does Dreaming of Neverland. I was thoroughly engaged in the story. It would be fun to immediately follow this book by reading the original Peter Pan story.
I think my favorite part of the book was the author's grasp of a young boy. When his mom tells him that his sister will be moving in with him, she uses the word "sharing." He isn't sure what this word means; but, the more she talks, the clearer it becomes. Finally, he thinks: "If he was correct, he was quite sure he did not like this new word." I could vividly picture a young, troublemaker of a boy being appalled at having to share a room with a much younger girl. It was not just Peter's character that was well-drawn, though. Tinker Bell was quirky and fun as well. Ms. Contreras had a good grasp of the original story and characters and used this knowledge to tell her own tale.
There was nothing to dislike about the book. It's professionally edited, as I found only three small errors. The book is short enough to be an easy read. It's a chapter book, but the vocabulary isn't too advanced for younger readers. This would be a great story to read aloud as a family.
To summarize, I must give Dreaming of Neverland: Peter's Story 4 out of 4 stars. It further explains Peter Pan with great characterization and professional editing. I recommend it to families with young children, middle schoolers, or even adults that weren't quite satisfied with the original telling. However, it's not necessary to know or have read Peter Pan before starting this book. This is only the start of his adventures, though, so you'll most likely want to read more about him after finishing this book. I highly recommend Dreaming of Neverland. You won't regret reading it.
Dreaming of Neverland
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