Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

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Title: Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

Premise:

Wendy and her brothers go on a fantastic adventure with Peter Pan, a boy who lives in the Neverland and never grows up.  They encounter mermaids, fairies and the infamous Captain Hook.  Though they go on many adventures, eventually Wendy and the boys must return home to grow up.

My thoughts:

My son and I read Peter Pan together for our homeschooling and I must say that it surprised me quite a bit.  I grew up watching Disney’s Peter Pan, so I was expecting a tame and mostly innocent story.  Let me tell you, the original Peter Pan is not all fluff.

Captain Hook and the Lost Boys do plenty of killing and maiming in their fights, though at least it isn’t described graphically.  Even innocent little Michael ends up killing a pirate in the final fight scene.

The Disney version got the story line mostly correct, but the book’s delivery is much more wordy and old-fashioned in its language.  I enjoyed it, but I could tell that my son’s attention was flagging at times because of the side tangents and complexity of the language.  For that reason I’d say this book is best suited to older elementary and up — unless your child has a great attention span.  Overall, I enjoyed the book, but it will be a one-time read for me.

I recommend Peter Pan to those who enjoy classic childhood adventure stories.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden

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Title: Anne of Green Gables: A Graphic Novel adapted by Mariah Marsden

Premise:

Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert (siblings) want to adopt a boy who can help them with work on their farm, but through a mistake they end up with a girl instead.  Anne Shirley is nothing like what they expected, but she wins their hearts and they decide to keep her.  This is the story of Anne’s childhood and its defining moments.

My thoughts:

I’ve been a fan of Anne Shirley since I was a kid, so this graphic novel really had me excited!  I was also kind of afraid, too.  What if it was done poorly?  What if they didn’t capture Anne’s spirit and humor?  What if they butchered one of my all-time favorite stories???

I’ll lay to rest those insecurities right now and tell you that I absolutely loved this book!  The format is, of course, different from the original, but it still manages to capture the magic of the story.  The graphic novel focuses on simplified and essential dialogue, pivotal events, and the emotions/reactions/feelings of the characters.  A lot of detail was necessarily cut out, but the essence of the story came through loud and clear.  I’ll confess that it made me cry a couple of times.  The story ends on a hopeful note, with Anne and Gilbert finally reconciling and the hint of love in the air.  *sigh*

The artwork is really nice.  There are plenty of charming and lovely vignettes, and a wonderful color palette.

I recommend Anne of Green Gables to fans of the original book, and to elementary-age kids as a good introduction to the story.

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Boy by Roald Dahl

Boy

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Boy is a collection of memories that Roald Dahl shares from his childhood.  It is not an all-inclusive story about his childhood years, but just touches on the particular happenings that stood out to him.  He tells the reader about his parents and family, his preschool years, his time in boarding school, vacations in Norway, and his eventual start in life as an independent young man.  Scattered throughout the text are excerpts from letters that Dahl wrote to his mother as a child, photographs, and illustrations.

I am already a big Roald Dahl fan, so I enjoy reading a book that gives me a little more information about his personal history.  Even if you’re not a fan of his, the stories are quite entertaining and informative.  I really think you’ll enjoy this book.  It’s a fun, quick read.

Possible Objections:

  1. The d-word made at least one appearance in the book.
  2. There is an awful lot of talk about caning boys as a form of punishment.  While the author is simply relaying the facts of how punishment was handled in the school setting, it may be a bit traumatic for some readers.
  3. There are also a fair share of scenes in which the teachers treat students harshly.  This may upset some children.
  4. An incident is described in which the author’s nose was sliced almost all the way off in an automobile accident.  Again, this could be a traumatic idea for some kids.

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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