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4.7 out of 5 stars
The Annotated Peter Pan (The Centennial Edition)  (The Annotated Books)
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon November 6, 2011
This is a handsome keepsake book for devotees of Peter Pan and those who you would desire to be. This is more than the story of this boy who never grows up, it is the adventure behind the fantasy. J.M.Barrie was as fascinating a character himself, as his creation.
There are many period colour Illustrations in the book, programs, black and white period photos of Barrie and the Davies boys, productions, stage and film. We also read of the appeal of fairy dust and of flying.

Included is an introduction to Peter Pan and Barrie, the chapters on Peter and Wendy. Barrie's `The Boy Castaways of black Lake Island', his introduction to play Peter Pan, words on Arthur Rackham, including the not to be missed stature of Pan in Kensington Gardens, Barrie's scenario for a proposed film and a survey on Peter Pan in the cinema, adaptations, sequels and spin offs and the legacy of Peter Pan.
There are helpful footnotes throughout, no index; but a 10 page bibliography.

What a special Christmas present, or for another occasion this book would be; or as an addition for your own bookshelf. This is almost as complete a book as one could get on the subject of Peter Pan.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Peter Pan must be one of the best known stories nobody has actually read. The numerous stage plays, pantomimes, and movies have given most of us a fairly good idea of the basic plot line, while J.M. Barrie's biographers and the movie Finding Neverland have ensured that thestrange life story of the creator of Peter Pan has had an airing. This Centennial Edition of Peter Pan, ably annotated by Maria Tatar, does much to cast light on what have been unknown or at least shadowy aspects of the story.

One of the first surprises about Peter Pan is how slim the actual story really is. It is less than 200 pages in this volume, which includes the annotations and many of the original illustrations. Be advised that the language of books written for children in the Edwardian era often seems cloying to today's readers, but nevertheless those who persevere will find the story's legendary charms are fully deserved. The annotations enhance and do not drown the text.

The rest of this fine volume is just as fascinating. There is a long biographical essay which chronicles Barrie's difficult early life, his success as a playwright, and most importantly his obsession with the Llewellyn Davies family, particularly the five young boys whom Barrie first met in Kensington Gardens. Naturally this tends to give rise to speculation on the depth of Barrie's feelings for the boys, but Tatar, like every other writer and dramatist who has tried, can provide no definitive answer. There are many wonderful pictures of Barrie, his family, and his proteges, along with other illustrations that enhance our enjoyment. There are also long segments devoted to illustrations by various artists, including Arthur Rackham's beautiful contributions, and reprints of Barrie's introduction to one edition and his scenario for a proposed film. Most importantly, Barrie's photographic memoir of a summer spent with the Llewellyn Davies family, The Boy Castaways of Black Lake Island, is reprinted here, as it should be since it was one of the origins of the story that became Peter Pan.

This opulent and densely illustrated volume does full justice to the original story and to its creator and his inspirations. It ably reintroduces its readers to a classic that has become better known in its dramatic versions than in its originals.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
As a long-time lover of the animated film and the Hook remake, I was aglow with fairy dust when co-recommending this book to my book club. Not only did it present an opportunity to read the original Peter Pan story, it also offered insights to the original play (and it's many variations over the seasons) along with historical notes, translations, and biographical details. With beautiful illustrations, stories behind the story, and shared communications from Barrie's contemporaries, fans, critics, and even those who lived beyond his time, this centennial edition brings a magical adventure into reality while also allowing it to maintain it's child-like glee.

Having never read Peter Pan previously and having just come off of reading Brom's re-imagining in The Child Thief, I was surprised to find I knew so much about Pan and Barrie, and I was also delighted to still see the magic beyond the sinister undertones. Sure Pan is riddled with child stealing, pirate killing, a strong dislike of parents, and racial offenses, yet it's also filled with play, creativity, imagination, and a call to believe. If one takes the story at face value, as being a magical bedtime tale for children then it's easy to see how Pan, Wendy, Hook, Smee, and the ticking Croc have captured the hearts of so many.

And now for me, I'm off to follow the second star to the right and straight on til morning. Of course, you know my destination. ;o)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This delightful hardcover book is attractive and due to its size, has great "read-aloud" potential. Even so, it's a fairly erudite work with columnar annotation that helps explain J.M. Barrie's original novel PETER PAN AND WENDY (here known simply as PETER PAN). Little kids will enjoy listening to it; interested adults will enjoy unpacking the book's many strangenesses to us moderns (partly due to the Edwardian era it took place in, partly due to Barrie's take on things) at a remove of over a hundred years. If you want a book that will last, eschew the cheaper paperbacks and buy this one. It's well worth the money.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on February 13, 2015
My daughter became interested in Peter Pan when she recently saw the latest live TV broadcast of the play. She really like Captain Hook. On a trip to the library, I asked her what kind of books she would like to get out and she responded that she wanted some pirate stories, like Captain Hook. Well, I thought, since she has only ever seen the play, why not read her the original Captain Hook story?

I didn't want the Disney version, because I'm trying to transition her away from picture rich story telling. Pictures are great, but I would rather her picture the action in her mind. Looking for the original Peter Pan text by J.M. Barrie, I stumbled upon The Annotated Peter Pan. It is amazing! In addition to the story, it is a huge volume chock full of biographical information on Barrie, a history of the story and the play and literally anything anyone could want to know about Peter Pan.

My daughter is a bit young for the book, but I love it. We homeschool, so while I read her the story, I can also teach her a lot about Victorian storytelling, and the history of the play. Mostly she just likes the pictures, and I am the one to benefit from the annotations. Basically it makes a great teacher's guide. I was excited to learn there are other works covered in this annotated series, and will be looking for them.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on January 1, 2015
Wonderful pictures, jammed full of info and all of Barries Peter stories. I only wish it had a map of neverland, but besides that it's perect for a due hard fan!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2014
It is a delightful book. I gave it to my granddaughter for her 19th birthday. She is a budding actress & a drama major. She couldn't have been happier!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 24, 2015
What a treasure. 393 pages of far more than the complete story of Peter Pan, as written by Barrie: biograpohical info about Barrie and his time, abundantly illustrated tome with drawings, paintings, etchings, photos, many in colour, info on Peter Pan in theatre and in film, and, of course, the famous annotations which enhance the reading with so much background information, The definitive Peter Pan. Well worth the money. Item is exactly as ordered. Prompt delivery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2014
A gorgeous book! An absolute "must" fir any Barrie fan!
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on February 17, 2014
This sumptuous volume is a treasure for those of us with more than a passing interest in Peter Pan as a literary work. We learn that the character was introduced in J.M. Barrie's 1902 novel, The Little White Bird, which includes Peter's adventures in Kensington Gardens. Barrie's 1904 play, Peter Pan, presents the character in the narrative with which we are most familiar. That story later appeared in print as the author's 1911 book, Peter and Wendy. The play was not published until 1928 but enjoyed great success in London and opened on Broadway in November of 1905 with veteran American stage actress Maude Adams as Peter.

Maria Tatar's comprehensive study includes a wealth of factual material to satisfy even the most ardent fans of "the boy who wouldn't grow up". Many of us may be aware that in the 1954 musical version Peter was played by Mary Martin on stage and TV as well as by Sandy Duncan and Cathy Rigby in later productions. I doubt many would know of his portrayal by Elsa Lanchester in a 1936 production at the London Palladium with Charles Laughton as Captain Hook or the 1950 Broadway play with Jean Arthur and Boris Karloff.

The author, a Harvard scholar, spent much time researching her subject at the J.M. Barrie archive of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in New Haven, Connecticut. The annotations are in the form of margin footnotes which one reviewer found hard to follow. I had no such problem and, by reading the text of each chapter first, followed by the footnotes, found there was no break in continuity.

Alas, errors will creep into any work no matter how scholarly and I came across two. On page 46 in footnote #22 the author attributes additional dialogue to "Stanley Green". The name, of course, is ADOLPH Green of the well-known writing team of Comden & Green. Also, on page 109 in footnote #15 she refers to Theodore Roosevelt's son as being shot down in a fighter JET in 1918. This one at least should have been caught before printing.

Nonetheless I recommend the book highly to anyone who wants to know more about Barrie's masterpiece and it would make an ideal gift for the right person.
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