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Peter and the Starcatchers Paperback – April 25, 2006

4.4 out of 5 stars 512 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Humorist Dave Barry and suspense writer Ridley Pearson have clearly taken great delight in writing a 400-plus page prequel of sorts to Scottish dramatist J.M. Barrie's beloved Peter Pan stories. The result is a fast-paced and fluffy pirate adventure, complete with talking porpoises, stinky rogues, possible cannibals, a flying crocodile, biting mermaids, and a much-sought-after trunk full of magical glowing green "starstuff." Ever hear of Zeus? Michelangelo? Attila the Hun? According to 14-year-old Molly Aster they all derived their powers from starstuff that occasionally falls to Earth from the heavens. On Earth, it is the Starcatchers' job to rush to the scene and collect the starstuff before it falls into the hands of the Others who use its myriad powers for evil.

On board the ship Never Land, an orange-haired boy named Peter, the leader of a group of orphaned boys being sent off to work as servants in King Zarboff the Third's court, is puzzled by his shipmate Molly's fantastical story of starstuff, but it inextricably binds him to her. Peter vows to help his new, very pretty friend Molly (a Starcatcher's apprentice) keep a mysterious trunk full of the stuff out of the clutches of the pirate Black Stache, a host of other interested parties, and ultimately King Zarboff the Third.

The downright goofy, modern 8-year-old boy humor sometimes clashes with an old-time pirate sensibility, and the rapid-fire dialogue, while well paced, is far from inventive. Still, the high-seas hijinks and desert-island shenanigans will keep readers turning the pages. Greg Call's wonderful black-and-white illustrations are deliciously old-fashioned and add plenty of atmosphere to a silly, swashbuckling story that shows us how Peter Pan came to fly and why he, and his story, will never get old. (Ages 9 and older) --Karin Snelson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9–This prequel to Peter Pan refers as much to the 1953 animated Disney film as to J. M. Barrie's original play and novel. The early chapters introduce the archetypal antagonists: Peter, leader of a group of orphan boys being sent into slavery aboard the Never Land, and Black Stache, a fearsome pirate who commands a villainous crew. New characters include Molly Aster and her father. Molly, at 14, is an apprentice Starcatcher, a secret society formed to keep evildoers from obtaining "starstuff," magic material that falls to earth and conveys happiness, power, increased intelligence, and the ability to fly. Inevitably, the ships wreck off a tropical island and a trunk of starstuff is temporarily lost. Here, readers meet more familiar characters: the mermaids in their lagoon; the indigenous people who live in the jungle (modern versions of Barrie's redskins); and, of course, the crocodile. The authors plait multiple story lines together in short, fast-moving chapters, with the growing friendship between Molly and Peter at the narrative's emotional center. Capitalizing on familiar material, this adventure is carefully crafted to set the stage for Peter's later exploits. This smoothly written page-turner just might send readers back to the original.–Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 770 (What's this?)
  • Series: Peter and the Starcatchers (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Disney-Hyperion; Reprint edition (April 25, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078684907X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786849079
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (512 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,943 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Fourteen-year-old Peter is an orphan who doesn't exactly know how old he truly is, just like he doesn't know his last name. So when St. Norbert's Home for Wayward Boys places him aboard a ship called The Never Land, along with four of his mates, on a trip to an island ruled by the evil King Zarboff, where they will be forced to serve as slaves, Peter doesn't know exactly what to think. But when he meets up with fourteen-year-old Molly Aster, a rich passenger, traveling with her governess Mrs. Bumbrake, mysterious things begin happening. For instance, Molly can speak to porpoises, and she's hiding information about the strange trunk located in a holding cell upon The Never Land. Information about the magic, and mystery, that the trunk is holding inside. But when the notorious Black Stache learns about the treasure, the passengers upon The Never Land are in for a lot of trouble. Trouble that leads them all to fight with pirates, and become stranded on a desert island.

Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have created an absolutely amazing re-telling of PETER PAN. Peter is an exciting character who is kind, and fun, while at the same time intelligent, even though he hasn't received any formal education. Molly, on the other hand, is brave and hard-headed, and will appeal greatly to female readers, as she possesses true girl power, which shines through in every page that she appears in. Readers who enjoyed the recent movie PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN will adore the character of Black Stache, as he puts the mean into PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS, what with his nasty attitude, and vicious orders. Overall this is an amazing adventure story that will be enjoyed by male and female readers of all ages, whether they are a fan of the original story of PETER PAN or not.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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Format: Hardcover
Incredible! I have read many, many stories to my children including the original Peter Pan. This book stands out as one of the most difficult to put down. My son is always begging for just a few more pages, and I have received many a reprimand from my spouse for reading past his bed time. My son expressed how much he enjoys the believability of the story, because it has a logical beginning to it, in his words, "the other Peter just comes out of nowhere, but this story tells the beginning."

Every chapter is quick, engaging and each one leaves you hanging. You find yourself desperate for the "and then what happened?"--almost irritated that the authors interrupt the excitement with a pan (pardon the pun) to the other characters. Except with each new pan you get caught up in those characters as much as you were with the one's you left. This tactic never leaves you with a decent option for "just one more chapter before bedtime". A wonderful story, beautifully illustrated and a must read before you or your children get a chance to grow up!

And as for those one star people-I feel genuinely sorry for them, as they probably don't like ice cream either.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this set as a gift for my niece who is really into Tinkerbell. Thought she might enjoy reading the history behind Tink and Peter and the gang. With every book she reads she calls me in the middle and at the end thanking me for giving her this set of books!! She tells me in great detail what has been going on in the stories. How Tinkerbell got her name, how Peter keeps loosing his shadow, why they are called the lost boys, who Wendy is, all with such excitement in her voice. She is now in the middle of the third book, and can't wait, sort of, to start the forth. I asked her why she was hesitant and she said, because there wasn't a fifth book yet!! I laughed and told her to be patient that there would be she just had to wait and watch for it. She totally LOVES this series of books!!! She can't put them down and can't wait to pick up the next book.
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Format: Hardcover
I've always liked the basic Peter Pan story, but was never as big a fan as I am of other classics like L. Frank Baum's "Oz" books, so ordinarily a prequel wouldn't necessarily interest me, but with Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson writing this, I absolutely had to give it a chance. This unlikely collaboration turns out one of the best fantasy novels I've read in quite some time.

Like all great "children's" fantasy, the book is written on a level that's wonderfully accessible for kids but never condescends and alienates older readers. Our hero, Peter, is an orphan who is being whisked away across the ocean for purposes unknown. Aboard his ship is a mysterious trunk and a mysterious girl who seems to know a lot about it. The trunk is highly sought after, and a Peter finds a pirate ship hot on their trail.

Each of these writers bring something to the table -- Pearson's talent for writing the fantastic and Barry's sharp comedic wit combine to tell an excellent story that I enjoyed so much I'm anxious to go back and rediscover the original J.M. Barrie novel, just to see how many dots I can connect.

The book fills in a lot of the blanks for the original "Peter Pan," and one could easily read this and then leap to the original with no further bridges, however Barry and Pearson supposedly have two more "prequel" novels in the works. I'll definitely be in line to read them.
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