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Lost Boy: the Story of the Man Who Created Peter Pan Hardcover – August 5, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
Yolen's book begins, appropriately,"once upon a time," with Barrie's birth in a small town in Scotland in 1860. Born into a large family that lived in a tenement row house, Barrie liked to talk about his poor beginnings; Yolen points out, however, that he exaggerated his humble start, and his family was in fact "moderately prosperous" for the time. We can see the inspiration for Wendy in Barrie's mother, who gathered the children around her in the evening to tell stories and read aloud from library books. Young Jamie is a storyteller from the beginning, writing stories and plays that he would read to his mother or act out with his friends. When he is sent away to school, he becomes enamored of the theatre, starts a theatrical society, and becomes determined to become a writer.
Within a few years after he completes his education, his stories begin to be published in many magazines, and he became well-known. But as Yolen writes, "he was still as small as a boy, just over five feet tall...he hardly looked famous." While walking his enormous St. Bernard dog, Porthos (coincidentally one of the Three Musketeers!) Jamie meets the Llewelyn Davies boys, whom he begins playing with in the park, making up wild stories about pirates, Indians, fairies, islands, and more. This family became very close to Barrie, but it was not for another six years or so that he began writing his masterpiece, Peter Pan.Read more ›
This is perhaps one of the best picture book biographies I have read. Many times biographies provide facts in a dull manner; this book is very much the opposite. Jane Yolen writes Barrie's life story as if it were a fairy tale, she even begins with `Once upon a time'. Although Barrie did experience many hardships, Yolen does a nice of job of showing how Barrie overcame those and kept pursuing what he loved, the theatre. The inclusion of quotes from Barrie's works is one of my favorite aspects of the book; it is a nice of way for readers to indirectly connect his life events to his works. Yolen also includes a list of Barrie's works as well as a list of famous actresses (yes, actresses) that played Peter Pan.
Yolen masterfully weaves Barrie's fiction with relevant biographical facts, including quotes from his plays and novels that capture the sentiment of the events she describes. Steve Adams' acrylic-on-wood illustrations create an almost fairy-tale effect. Every page spread includes a striking, full-page illustration of Barrie's life and a 2 ½-inch by 5-inch window into each quote from Barrie's own writing. The result is an extraordinarily complementary pairing of text and art.
Yolen deals with the more difficult aspects of Barrie's life in an honest and age-appropriate manner. These difficulties include the loss of his brother David as a child, Barrie's troubled marriage, and the death of the Llewelyn Davies boys' parents to cancer. As a result, this biography paints a very human picture of Barrie as an individual, yet celebrates his imagination in a way that is sure to inspire young readers' own creativity and encourage them to explore and appreciate the actual writing of J.M. Barrie.
Laurie A. Gray
Reprinted from the Christian Library Journal (Vol. XVI, No. 3, June 2012); used with permission.
Things didn't ever feel like they would be the same again, but Jamie soon found solace when he put on plays adapted from Bible stories. He and his friend, Robb, wrote together, bringing happiness into their lives. For a while his life was in upheaval, but when he arrived at Dumfries, he truly began to blossom and began to write several stories based on "penny dreadfuls." His "first taste of celebrity" came when his play "Bandelero the Bandit" was produced. A clergyman proclaimed that the play was "gross and immoral." Any other man would have been hurt, but Jamie was actually quite pleased. He was as he claimed, "pencil-thin, inarticulate in company, and with `manners, bull of nails like his boots.'" Would this inconsequential young man ever make it in the literary world or was he simply destined to write nothing better than the "penny dreadful?"
This is a wonderful biography of James Barrie, J. M. Barrie, the man who created Peter Pan. I enjoyed the way this miniature biography unfolded and the wonderful recreation of his life. The book discusses his humble beginnings and his extreme yearning to be a writer.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
There were some errors, for instance he was the 9th of 10 children, not the 7th of 8, two of his sisters had died before he was born. Read morePublished on May 5, 2014 by ulf Hansson
Very well done. Jane Yolen's history of James Barrie and how the writing of Peter Pan came about had me glued to the pages wanting to learn more. Read morePublished on November 30, 2010 by Lisa Barker