Saturday, February 10, 2007

Peter and the Starcatchers and Peter and the Shadowthieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Peter and the Starcatchers

Summary: This is how it all begins. Peter is an orphan boy doomed to serve in the court of a wicked king in another land. Along the journey on a dilapidated ship called the Never Land with several other orphan boys destined for the same fate, he meets an intelligent and intriguing girl named Molly Aster. However, the ship is commandeered by a terrible pirate named Captain Black Stache and shipwrecked on an uncharted island. Thus ensues a fight over Molly's trunk which contains valuable "starstuff"; stuff that Stache is willing to kill for, but Peter and Molly are willing to protect with their lives.

Peter and the Shadow Thieves

Summary: Peter learns that a creature named Lord Ombra, who has the ability to steal people's shadows leaving them in his control, is after the Asters and the "starstuff". Worried for his friends, Peter leaves the safety of Mollusk Island to travel across the sea with his companion Tinkerbell to dirty and poor streets of London. Despite many difficult setbacks including Peter being forced into a gang of thieving urchins and Tink being captured, they are able to meet Molly. Together, they must find her father who has disappeared and rescue her mother from the clutches of the wicked Lord Ombra.

Assessment: I found the first book very entertaining. It had humorous moments and enough action to keep the pages turning. It also followed quite faithfully both J.M Barrie's original Peter Pan as well as the Disney movie, so that if you're familiar with just one, you'll remember who's who. But even if you're not, you'll have no problem keeping up with the characters and story. The second book is even better than the first. It's a little darker and jam packed with action. The characters are drawn more deeply, such as Peter noticing that Molly has grown some while he hasn't, and George Darling's and Peter's antagonism. The 500 pages completely fly by leaving you wanting more of the adventures of Peter and Molly.

2 comments:

helenthelibrarian said...

The third in the series has been out for a while now—Peter and the Secret of Rundoon. This series is one of my favorites. Engaging characters, lots of rising and falling action and cliff-hanging chapter endings make a great series for read-alouds or personal reading. As a school librarian, I've also found that kids are likely to want to read Barrie's original after finishing at least the first in the Starcatchers series.

Editor said...

I actually was lucky to get an advanced reading copy at the Book Expo in New York - and have it signed by Ridley and Barry (what a treat!) Unfortunately, it's still as of this moment sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. When I do, though, you'll see the review.

I am so pleased to hear that this series not only engages the kids in reading, but makes them want to read the classic original!