Customer Reviews: The Annotated Peter Pan (The Centennial Edition) (The Annotated Books)
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4.8 out of 5 stars
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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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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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on December 30, 2011
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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on February 12, 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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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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on April 19, 2015
Peter Pan is a well-known story. All of us who remember Mary Martin and Cathy Rigby flying through the air onstage are familiar with the plot. But how did this book come to be written? Who was J.M. Barrie? The movie "Finding Neverland" gives us some clues, but what are the facts? That is where the Annotated Peter Pan comes in. There are words that are from a time (early 20th century) and a place (Great Britain) that are unfamiliar to American readers; definitions are provided. There are background stories that explain how certain plot points came to be. The original inspiration for Peter Pan is included. If you have loved Peter Pan for years, you will love him even more now.
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on July 3, 2016
Given my interest in childhood trauma, what I did not know about Peter Pan and its author has added a new dimension. This is a book about abandonment, isolation, and not being able to grow up as a result. As such, it is an excellent metaphor for childhood abuse and neglect and its ravages.
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on April 27, 2015
I purchased this book as a gift for a female relative. I can only attest to the beauty of the book, since I have not read it. I have read Barrie's works and find him to be an amazing author. I hope to get a copy of my own sometime in the future. I rated the author's writing based on Barrie's writing, so, if others are involved in this book, I am not aware of how their writing skills are.
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on August 24, 2015
This is a beautiful book for the Peter Pan lover. I gave it as a gift and she adored it. It is a beautiful volume with annotations and additonal information. If you love Peter Pan, this is a must have book.
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on April 1, 2013
From the great life and imagination of J M Barrie comes an amazing and timeless classic story about Peter Pan and Wendy -- and the Lost Boys and Captain Hook and the rest of the inhabitants of Neverland. Add to it the extensive and beautiful annotations by Maria Tatar, and wrap it in the beautiful package that Norton does with these books --- and you are in for a special treat.

Like many of you, I saw the Disney animated version of Peter Pan and the Mary Martin televised version in my youth. But I never read the book until 2005. It was a revelation -- just as so many of the fairy tales that Disney and others made into movies that are somehow very different from the original books (Pinocchio is another great one, as are Alice In Wonderland (AIW) and Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Saw There (TLG)).

As Maria Tatar's annotations bring out, there is a certain darkness to Peter Pan's eternal childhood and the Lost Boys that I never knew. And, yet, the annotations to Peter Pan -- like the ones to AIW and TLG -- bring the story and its creation to life in a very special way. Seeing the development of the story from the actual events of Barrie's life with the real Llewelyn children adds an incomparable dimension, as does the inclusion of the other materials in the book -- including the complete Arthur Rackham illustrations for the story.

This is a very special book to enjoy and to share with someone else whose inner child is still there alive and well and looking to wander through life along side his older self.

I have purchased 3 books of this Norton Annotated series -- Peter Pan, Alice In Wonderland and Huckleberry Finn. I have not read the last one yet -- but from this and the Alice volume, I can recommend them very highly. They are beautifully written and illustrated and beautifully presented by the publisher.
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