Peter Pan in Scarlet

( 23 )

Overview

The first-ever authorized sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan!

In August 2004 the Special Trustees of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, who hold the copyright in Peter Pan, launched a worldwide search for a writer to create a sequel to J. M. Barrie's timeless masterpiece. Renowned and multi award-winning English author Geraldine McCaughrean won the honor to write this official sequel, Peter Pan in Scarlet. Illustrated by Scott M. Fischer and set in the 1930s, Peter Pan in ...

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Overview

The first-ever authorized sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan!

In August 2004 the Special Trustees of Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital, who hold the copyright in Peter Pan, launched a worldwide search for a writer to create a sequel to J. M. Barrie's timeless masterpiece. Renowned and multi award-winning English author Geraldine McCaughrean won the honor to write this official sequel, Peter Pan in Scarlet. Illustrated by Scott M. Fischer and set in the 1930s, Peter Pan in Scarlet takes readers flying back to Neverland in an adventure filled with tension, danger, and swashbuckling derring-do!

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  • Peter Pan in Scarlet
    Peter Pan in Scarlet  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
In 2004, the copyright holders of Peter Pan launched a much-publicized worldwide search for a writer to craft a centennial sequel to J. M. Barrie's Edwardian classic. Three-time Whitbread Children's Book Award winner Geraldine McCaughrean won the commission. Pan in Scarlet, set in the 1930s, is certain to be one of the most discussed and read children's books of recent years. A classic in its own right.
Publishers Weekly
The product of a contest commissioned by trustees at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital, owner of the copyright to J.M. Barrie's original Peter Pan, this authorized sequel largely succeeds in entertaining fans of the classic. Curry offers an easy, comfortable pace and somewhat subdued tone for this outing, seemingly taking great care to introduce listeners to new characters (Fireflyer, a male fairy) and reacquaint them with old ones (Wendy and John Darling, Peter). As the central plot unfolds-a return by the League of Pan to Neverland, and their treasure-hunting adventures there with Peter-Curry particularly delights in giving voice to Ravello, a tattered lion tamer and dramatically obsequious fellow who offers to assist the crew and who has a hilarious, hard-to-place foreign accent. Slightly darker and a bit harder to follow than its predecessor (also new on audio; see notes), McCaughrean's follow-up, sparked here by Curry's solid performance-is sure to prove irresistible for many. All ages. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature - Naomi Williamson
The first thing you notice about this book is the wonderful jacket illustration. Tony DiTerlizzi does an amazing job of capturing the reader's imagination by portraying the illustrious Peter Pan wearing the beautiful scarlet jacket for which this "first-ever authorized sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan" is named. The illustrations by Scott M. Fischer are reminiscent of the beautiful artwork of the 1980 edition of Peter Pan by Trina Schart Hymen, yet maintain the integrity of this new volume as it chronicles the continued "life" of Peter. McCaughrean was chosen to write the book after winning a competition held by the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children, to which all rights of Peter Pan were given by J. M. Barrie in 1929. Taking place in the 1930s, the story begins as the "lost boys" and the Darling children, John and Wendy, who are all now grown, find themselves dreaming of Neverland. They decide that Peter Pan must be in trouble and the dreams are calling them back to help him. But how do you return to a place of your childhood, a place of fairies, pirates, wild animals, and Indians? Why, you find a fairy, and steal some fairy dust! Then you become young again and fly off to Neverland to find Peter and see what is causing the dreams and how you can help stop them. The children are off on an adventure that rivals that of the original story. McCaughrean has captured the flavor of Barrie's story and created new adventures to continue the excitement of Peter Pan. It isn't necessary to have recently read Peter Pan, but a look at the 1911 story prior to the reading of this new episode, will allow the reader to see how well McCaughrean has remainedtrue to the original story and characters. Almost all of the characters are there, Peter, Tinkerbell, Hook, Smee, the Lost Boys, Wendy, and John, as well as many others and a few new characters, like the Ravelling Man and Fireflyer. With a blend of early 20th century writing and ideas and contemporary language and ideas, McCaughrean has woven a connection to Peter and Neverland for present and future generations. Adventure follows adventure as life goes on in Neverland, but a Neverland unlike the one the children remember from days gone by. Details of the story are for reading, and the reader will surely embrace the magic of Peter Pan and his scarlet coat.
School Library Journal
Gr 5 Up-In this sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter and Wendy (first published in 1911), the grown-up Lost Boys suffer from bad dreams leaking out of Neverland that result in cutlasses, pistols, pirate eye-patches, and other things appearing under their pillows. After a living crocodile shows up in the Gentleman's Club of the former Lost Boys, Wendy realizes that something is very wrong and that they must return to Neverland. In order to become young again, they wear their own children's clothes and obtain fairy dust for flying, and set off to heal it. However, when they reunite with Peter Pan, they forget their original mission and become caught up in the wild joys of his imaginative adventures. After they find Captain Hook's abandoned boat with a map to hidden treasure, Peter Pan dons Hook's second-best suit of scarlet and takes command of the ship. The League is accompanied by Fireflyer, an impudent, ravenous fairy with an astounding capacity for telling lies, and Ravello, a charming but ominous circus man who seems to be made entirely of snarled bits of yarn. As they travel closer to Neverpeak, where the treasure allegedly is buried, the menaces surrounding their quest escalate to the point where the League members become unsure of one another's true nature and loyalty. McCaughrean captures the excitement of the original story without the overly precious Victorian glorification of childhood. Wendy and the former Lost Boys are developed characters (with a welcome surprise of a gender-change that's believable within the scope of the story). Even Peter Pan, who struggles to remain as brash and carefree as he ever was, is not immune to change and consequences. Pen-and-ink illustrations add to the enjoyment of the story.-Farida S. Dowler, Mercer Island Library, WA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In the year's most hyped title for young readers, the much-honored McCaughrean delivers an "authorized" sequel that stays true to the original's style and spirit but speaks to modern sensibilities as well. Disturbed by a tide of entirely too-real dreams flowing out of Neverland, the now-grown Wendy and Lost Boys contrive a way to fly back as children. They find their old haunt a poisoned place, with trees turned autumnal, skeletons of mermaids on the beach and Peter himself particularly sullen and unlikable. Getting to the cause takes them on a harrowing quest for treasure buried atop wintry Neverpeak. The new tale smoothes out a few wrinkles in the old, adding another girl to the cast with the temporary transformation of Tootles and redefining the "redskins" as the diverse Tribes of the Eight Nations. McCaughrean also tucks in a band of humorously disaffected adolescents dubbed "Roarers," deft literary allusions from Barrie and other writers, reunions that range from tearful to shocking and (inevitably) a sequel-ready conclusion. Worthy homage, all in all, as well as a strong, poignant tale in its own right. Silhouette illustrations a la Arthur Rackham's for Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens (1906) not seen. (Q & A) (Fantasy. 11-13, adult)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416918080
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • Publication date: 10/5/2006
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 948,373
  • Age range: 9 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 930L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Geraldine McCaughrean is an award-winning author who has written more than 130 books and plays for children and adults. She recently won the Whitbread Children's Book Award for the third time with Not the End of the World, and her other awards include the Carnegie Medal, the Guardian Fiction Award, and the Smarties Bronze Award. She lives in Berkshire, England. Visit www.geraldinemccaughrean.co.uk.

Scott M. Fischer is a painter by birth, a musician by training, and a storyteller by choice. Best known as the author/illustrator of JUMP!, he is also the illustrator of Twinkle, the New York Times bestselling Peter Pan in Scarlet, Lottie Paris Lives Here, and Lottie Paris and the Best Place. Scott lives with his wife, daughter, and a menagerie of animals in Belchertown, Massachusetts.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One: The Old Boys

" I'm not going to bed," said John — which startled his wife. Children are never ready for bed, but grown-ups like John are usually hankering for their pillows and eiderdowns from the moment they finish dinner. "I'm not going to bed!" said John again, and so ferociously that his wife knew he was very frightened indeed.

"You have been dreaming again, haven't you?" she said tenderly. "Such a trial."

John scrubbed at his eyes with his knuckles. "I told you. I never dream! What does a man have to do to be believed in his own house?"

His wife stroked his shiny head and went to turn down the bedclothes. And there on John's side of the bed, something bulged up through the coverlet. It wasn't a hot-water bottle or a teddy bear or a library book. Mrs. John folded down the sheets. It was a cutlass.

With a sigh, she hung it on the hook behind the bedroom door, alongside the quiver of arrows and John's dressing gown. Both she and her husband liked to pretend it was not happening (because that's what grown-ups do when they are in trouble), but secretly they both knew: John was dreaming of Neverland again. After every dream, something was left behind in his bed next morning, like the stones around a dish after a serving of prunes. A sword here, a candle there, a bow, a medicine bottle, a top hat...The night after he dreamed of mermaids, a fishy smell hung about the stairs all day. The wardrobe was piled high with the dregs of dreams — an alarm clock, an Indian head-dress, an eye-patch, a pirate's tricorn hat. (The worst nights were when John dreamed of Captain Hook.)

Mrs. John plumped up the pillows with a brisk blow of her hand — and a gunshot rang out through the whole house, waking the neighbours and terrifying the dog. The bullet shied about the room, bouncing off the lamp-stand and smashing a vase. Cautiously, with two fingers, Mrs. John drew the pistol from under the pillow and dropped it into the bin, like a kipper found to be not quite fresh.

"They are so real!" whimpered her husband from the doorway. "These wretched dreams are just so real!"

All over London and even as far afield as Fotheringdene and Grimswater, old boys were dreaming the same kind of dreams. Not young, silly boys but boys grown-up: cheerful, stolid boys who worked in banks or drove trains or grew strawberries or wrote plays or stood for Parliament. Cozy at home, surrounded by family and friends, they thought themselves comfortable and safe...until the dreams began. Now each night they dreamed of Neverland and woke to find leftovers in their beds — daggers or coils of rope, a pile of leaves or a hook.

And what did they have in common, these dreamers? Just one thing. They had all once been Boys in Neverland.

"I have called you all together, because something must be done!" said Judge Tootles, twirling his big moustache. "It is not good enough! Gone on far too long! Won't do! Enough is enough! We must act!"

They were eating brown soup in the library of the Gentlemen's Club off Piccadilly — a brown room with brown portraits of gentlemen wearing brown suits. Smoke from the fireplace hung in the air like a brown fog. On the dining table lay an assortment of weapons, the sole of a shoe, a cap, a pair of giant bird's eggs.

The Honourable Slightly fingered them thoughtfully: "The flotsam of Night washed up on the shores of Morning!" he said (but then the Honourable Slightly played the clarinet in a nightclub and was inclined to write poetry).

"Call Mrs. Wendy! Mrs. Wendy would know what to do!" said Judge Tootles. But of course Wendy had not been invited, because ladies are not allowed in the Gentlemen's Club.

"I say we should let sleeping dogs lie," said Mr. Nibs, but nobody thanked him, because dogs are not allowed in the Gentlemen's Club either.

"Mind over matter!" exclaimed Mr. John. "We must just try harder not to dream!"

"We tried that," said the Twins mournfully. "Stayed awake all night for a week."

"And what happened?" asked Mr. John, intrigued.

"We fell asleep on the London omnibus on the way to work, and dreamed all the way to Putney. When we got off, we were both wearing warpaint."

"How perfectly charming," said the Honourable Slightly.

"Last night we dreamed of the Lagoon," added Second Twin.

There was a murmur of heartfelt sighs. Each of the Old Boys had dreamed lately of the Lagoon and woken with wet hair, and dazzle in his eyes.

"Is there a cure, Curly?" enquired Mr. Nibs, but Dr. Curly knew of no cure for an outbreak of unwanted dreams.

"We should write a letter of complaint!" boomed Judge Tootles. But nobody knew of a Ministry for Dreams or whether there was a Minister of State for Nightmares.

In the end, with nothing solved and no plan of campaign, the Old Boys sank into silence and fell asleep in their armchairs, their brown coffee cups dropping brown drips onto the brown carpet. And they all dreamed the same dream.

They dreamed they were playing tag with the mermaids, while the reflections of rainbows twisted around and between them like water snakes. Then, from somewhere deeper down and darker, came a hugely slithering shape that brushed the soles of their feet with its knobbly, scaly hide....

When they woke, the Old Boys' clothes were sopping wet, and there on its back, in the middle of the Gentlemen's Library, was a prodigious crocodile, lashing its tail and snapping its jaws in an effort to turn over and make supper of them.

The Gentlemen's Club emptied in the record time of forty-three seconds, and next day Members everywhere received a letter from the management.

The Gentlemen's Club Brown Street, off Piccadilly, London W1

23rd April 1926

We regret to inform you that the Club will be closed for redecoration from 23rd April until approximately 1999.

Your obedient servants,

The Management

In the end, of course, it was Mrs. Wendy who explained it. "Dreams are leaking out of Neverland," she said. "Something must be wrong. If we want the dreams to stop, we must find out what."

Mrs. Wendy was a grown woman, and as sensible as can be. She had a tidy mind. For six days in any week she strongly disapproved of dreams littering up the house. But on the seventh, she was not quite so sure. Recently she had begun hurrying to bed, eager for that twilight flicker that comes between waking and sleep. From behind closed eyelids she would watch for a dream to come floating towards her — just as once she had watched at her bedroom window, hoping against hope for a small figure to come swooping through the local stars. Each bedtime her heart beat faster at the thought of glimpsing the Lagoon again, or hearing the cry of the Neverbird. Above all, she longed to see Peter again: the friend she had left behind in Neverland all those years before.

Now Neverland was rubbing against the Here and Now, wearing holes in the fabric in between. Tendrils of dream were starting to poke through. All was not well. Somehow Mrs. Wendy knew it.

"Perhaps the dreams are messages," said one Twin.

"Perhaps they are warnings," said the other.

"Perhaps they are symptoms," said Dr. Curly, putting his stethoscope to his own forehead and listening for the dreams inside.

"I'm awfully afraid they may be," said Wendy. "Something is wrong in Neverland, gentlemen...and that is why we must go back."

Text copyright © 2006 by the Special Trustees of Great Ormond Street

Chapter Two: First Find Your Fairy

"Go back!?"

Go back to Neverland? Go back to the mysterious island, with its mermaids, pirates, and redskins? The Old Boys snorted and blustered and shook their heads till their cheeks flapped. Go back to Neverland?

Never!

"Preposterous!"

"Ridiculous!"

"Poppycock!"

"Fol-de-riddle!"

"I'm a busy man!"

In the rosy gloom of her parlour, Mrs. Wendy poured more tea and passed round the cucumber sandwiches. "As I see it, there are three problems," she said, ignoring their cries of protest. "First, we have all grown too big. No one but a child can fly to Neverland."

"Exactly!" Judge Tootles looked down at the straining buttons of his waistcoat. Over the years, he had indeed grown too big, in every direction.

"Secondly, we can no longer fly as we could then," said Mrs. Wendy.

"Well, there you are, then!" Mr. John remembered the evening when a boy dressed in a suit of leaves had flown into his life and taught him, too, to fly. He remembered leaping from the open bedroom window and that first heart-stopping moment when night had caught him in its open palm. He remembered dipping and soaring through the black sky, blipped by bats, nipped by the frost, keeping tight hold of his umbrella.... Oh, how brave he had been in those days! Mr. John gave a start as Mrs. Wendy dropped a sugar lump into his cup with a pair of silver tongs: his thoughts had been up among the moonbeams.

"And before we can fly," Mrs. Wendy was saying, "we need fairy dust."

"Then it is plainly impossible." The Honourable Slightly looked down at the bread crumbs on his trousers, and a lump filled his throat. He remembered fairy dust. He remembered it glittering on his skin like water drops. He remembered the tingling sensation it sent racing through his veins. Even after all these years, he still remembered.

"I think it is best if we do not tell anyone we are going," said Mrs. Wendy. "It might upset those we love. Also it might attract the attention of the newspapers."

There did not seem to be any arguing with her, so the Old Boys wrote down what she said, in their appointment diaries, under the heading Jobs to Be Done:

Must not be grown up.

Must remember how to fly.

Must find fairy dust.

Must think of something to tell the wife.

"I think Sunday week would be best," said Mrs. Wendy. "There is a full moon that night, and the children will not need collecting from school. With luck, this annoying cold of mine will have cleared up too. So, gentlemen. Shall we say June the sixth? I am sure I can rely on you to arrange everything?"

The Old Boys wrote in their appointment diaries:

Sunday, 6th June. Go to Neverland.

Then they sucked their pencils and waited for Mrs. Wendy to tell them what to do next. Wendy would know. Why, even with a cold she did not need an appointment diary to remind her what jobs needed doing!

Next day, Mrs. Wendy's cold kept her from going out, but the Old Boys found themselves in Kensington Gardens with butterfly nets, wandering up and down. Looking for fairies.

There was a stiff breeze blowing. Something white and fluffy brushed Mr. Nibs's face and he gave a shriek. "There's one! It kissed me!" And all the gentlemen went pounding after it. The wind was rising. Other scraps of whiteness scudded past, until the air seemed to be full of flying snowflakes all twirling and dancing, feathery light. The Old Boys trampled the grass flat with running to and fro, swiping at fairies, accidentally swatting each other, whooping and shrieking, "Got one!"

"So have — OW!"

"Here's one, look!"

But when they peered into their butterfly nets, all they found were the fluffy seed-heads off summer's first dandelions. There was not a single fairy in among the dande-down.

All day they searched. As the sun went down and starlings gathered over the glimmering city, the Old Boys hid themselves among the bushes of Kensington Gardens. Early stars ventured into the sky, their reflections spangling the Serpentine. And suddenly the air was a-flicker with wings!

Jubilant, the ambushers leapt out of hiding and ran to and fro, nets flailing.

"Got one!"

"By Jove!"

"Don't hurt them!"

"Ouch! Watch what you are doing, sir!"

"I say! This is ripping fun!"

But when they turned the nets inside out, what did they find? Midges and moths and mayflies.

"I have one in here! Definitely! Incontrovertibly!" cried Mr. John, cramming his bowler hat back onto his head to trap the captive inside. The others gathered round, jostling to see. The hat came off again, with a sigh of suction; Mr. John reached in with finger and thumb, plucked something out of the satin lining, and held it up to show them — the iridescent purple, the shiny, flexing, turquoise body...

Only a dragonfly.

Mr. John opened his fingertips, and eight pairs of disappointed eyes followed the lovely creature as it staggered and waltzed back towards the water.

"I don't believe there is a single fairy..." began Dr. Curly, but the others felled him to the ground and clapped their hands over his mouth.

"Don't say it! Don't ever say that!" cried Mr. Nibs, horrified. "Don't you remember? Every time someone says they don't believe in fairies, a fairy somewhere dies!"

"I didn't say I didn't believe in them!" said the doctor, tugging the rumples out of his suit. "I was only going to say, I don't believe there is one single fairy here. Tonight. In this park. I have mud on my trousers, insect bites on my ankles, and I have not eaten supper yet. Can we give up now?"

The other Old Boys looked around them at the twilit park, the distant, glimmering streetlamps. They looked at the soles of their shoes, in case they had trodden on any fairies by mistake. They looked into the water of the Serpentine, in case any of the stars reflected there were really fairies, swimming. No fairies, no fairy dust. Perhaps, after all, they would not be going back to Neverland.

"All for the best. Absurd idea," growled Mr. John, but no one answered.

The Honourable Slightly took from his pocket a gleaming bubble filmy with every colour of the rainbow. "Last night I dreamed I was playing water polo with the mermaids," he said. "This was on my pillow when I woke."

The bubble popped and was gone.

The park gates were locked when they got there. The Old Boys had to climb over, and Judge Tootles tore his best tweed jacket.

In the end, it was Mrs. Wendy who managed it, of course. She led the way to Kensington Gardens next day, wearing a linen coat and a splendid hat with a feather in it.

"But we looked here yesterday!" her brother protested. "There wasn't a fairy to be found!"

"We are not looking for fairies," said Mrs. Wendy. "We are looking for prams!"

Twenty years before, the park would have been busy with nursery maids pushing pramfuls of babies up and down, filling them up with good fresh air. These days, nursery maids were a rarer breed. There were only three today, pushing prams, feeding ducks, wiping noses, picking up rattles thrown out onto the grass. It was a sight that always disturbed the Old Boys....

Once, Curly and Tootles, Nibs, Slightly, and the Twins had all been babies like those in the prams. Once, they had been tucked up, cozy and snug, boggling up at the sky with sky-blue, newborn eyes. But they had fallen out of their prams.

Got lost. Gone astray.

They had been handed in to the Lost-and-Found office, and stored under B for babies, right between A for aquaria and C for cricket bats. No one had claimed them, and after a week or so they had been posted off to Neverland. There they had joined all the other Lost Boys, making do without manners or mothers, making do on make-believe meals and catching doses of adventure along with their captain, Peter Pan.

As a pram rolled past, Mr. Nibs could not stop himself saying, "Oh, do please take care of that baby, young woman! I know there's nothing so very terrible about being a Lost Boy, but even so, do take care that it does not fall out! Lost boys are not all as lucky as we were! They are not all adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Darling and loved and cherished and blessed with custard tarts on Sundays and a university education!"

"Well, I never did!" exclaimed the nursery maid. "I hope you are not suggesting I might lose a baby of mine, sir? As if I would! As if I'd ever..." But before she could work herself into a paddy, the baby in the pram started to cry.

Mrs. Wendy had been leaning over the pram, using the feather from her hat to tickle the baby.

"What are you doing, madam?" said the nursery maid. "That one can't abide feathers!"

"Oh drat," said Mrs. Wendy, vexed with herself and secretly with the baby, too. "Mr. Slightly, don't just stand there! Sing!"

And the Honourable Slightly (who, if you remember, played clarinet in a nightclub) suddenly realized that the success of the whole plan depended on him. Scooping up the baby, he began to sing.

"Orpheus with his lute, with his lute made trees..."

It was no good. The baby howled more loudly still.

"Oh, the grand old Duke of York, he had

ten thousand men..."

Still the baby wailed.

"Come into the garden, Maud,

For the black bat night has flown!"

"Now see what you done!" said the nursery maid, wincing at the noise and looking around for a policeman.

The Honourable Slightly went down on one knee:

"Mammy! Mammy! I'd walk a million miles

for one of your smiles, my Ma-a-a-mmy!"

And suddenly the baby laughed!

It was a noise like water gurgling out of a jug. It was so delicious that the nursery maid clapped her hands and giggled too. "His very first laugh, bless him!"

In one movement, the Old Boys lifted their hats. Even Mrs. Wendy unpinned hers. Then, to the nursery maid's astonishment, they tossed the baby back into its pram and went racing out across Kensington Gardens, jumping and reaching and wildly waving their bowlers and brown derbies.

"Well!" said the nursery maid. "What is the world coming to!"

Among banks of orange aubretia, beside the war memorial, they caught him — a tiny, bluish mite, with red hair and eyes the colour of honey — a fairy! Like a robin out of an egg, he had hatched out of that baby's first laugh, you see, as all fairies do.

The Old Boys were tired and short of breath, but they were triumphant.

Mistakenly, Mrs. Wendy called the fairy Con Brio, not knowing he came ready-fitted with a name.

"I am Fireflyer!" said the fairy indignantly. "And I'm hungry!"

So they took him to the Serpentine Tea Rooms and fed him on ice cream, scone crumbs, and cool tea before bearing him home aloft in Mr. John's bowler, like a little eastern potentate. By the time they reached the house in Cadogan Square, the hat was slightly scorched, but it was also half full of fairy dust.

Text copyright © 2006 by the Special Trustees of Great Ormond Street

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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

A Conversation with Geraldine McCaughrean

How were you selected to write the first-ever authorized sequel to Peter Pan?

GM: Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital announced a worldwide competition to find the lucky author. Entrants had to be published authors, put forward by a literary agent or a publisher, and had to submit both a synopsis and a trial chapter. I only went into it for fun, never dreaming I would actually get the job.

What was your inspiration for the story of Peter Pan in Scarlet?

GM: I badly wanted to be true to Barrie's original book. Not to the cartoon version or the pantomime or the last movie, but to the 1911 book. So I read and reread Peter Pan and Wendy, and tried to soak up something of Barrie's style and sense of humor and quirky style. I also wanted to create something distinctly my own. So what I went for was a literary counterpart -- the matching bookend -- same world, but somewhat altered. You see, I don't really share Barrie's gloomy take on life: That we are born happy and dwindle down to unhappiness as we get older, and that life is perfect at three, but sadder with each passing year. Nor do I think grown-ups are an altogether bad thing.

Did you face any challenges while writing the sequel to Barrie's story?

GM: I faced certain snags when I started work. The Darling children and the Lost Boys came back to London at the end of Peter Pan and Wendy. Only Peter stayed in Neverland. So they went on growing up, whereas Peter did not. Twenty years have passed. So they have to find a way of recovering their childhood before they can go back to Neverland, because, of course, only children can go there. Worse still, the arch villain Hook was last seen disappearing into the gullet of a crocodile, and I don't do ghosts. I've never done ghosts. I don't approve of ghosts. And how long do fairies live? I don't know, do you? I have always thought of them as ephemera, like mayflies. But once I got over those first stumbling blocks, I was as happy as a pig in mud.

How did you begin your career as a children's book author?

GM: Writing was always my hobby. My brother Neil got published when he was only fourteen, but then he was very clever and I wasn't. I just wrote for the fun -- the only proper reason in my opinion -- and I read out my stories to friends at school and very occasionally submitted a manuscript and waited for it to come thumping back in the mail. My school teacher, who remained a friend after I left school, introduced me to a publisher of children's books -- as a babysitter. I used to show him my work and try to learn from what he said about it. At last he let me "audition" for a book he was planning -- a retelling of The Arabian Nights. My two trial chapters won me the job, and at last I was a published author. Nothing could stop me after that!

Who are some of your favorite children's book authors today?

GM: Bruce Coville, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Jan Mark, David Almond, Louis Sachar...oh, there are so many. Authors do so many different things with their books -- offer such different things to their readers -- that I could never possibly choose just one.

Were you a fan of Peter Pan growing up?

GM: There are no horses in it, and horses were my one big passion as a child. So no, it wasn't my absolutely favorite book. But I can't remember a time when I did not know the story, and I vividly recall how the book looked on the bedroom bookshelf and all the color plates inside. It was the first play that I ever went to see, as well, and I got so swallowed up by the action that I was very very angry when Peter asked the audience to clap and save Tinker Bell. It meant I had to stop being IN the story, break off and become me again, sitting in a theatre seat.

Is it true that your daughter helps with your writing process and will be a part of your international book tour for Peter Pan in Scarlet?

GM: Ailsa, who is now sixteen, is a brilliant writer herself -- much more naturally talented than I was at her age (I sort of learned how to get better as I went along). She is very helpful in all kinds of ways. She can tell me if I have used a word too often, or too many adjectives, or spent too long in one place. But she can also look at the whole book and tell me if it is good and how it makes her feel and how I could improve it. I couldn't do without her. I couldn't do without her company on the book tours, either. She makes me laugh, and I think I might need a few laughs to keep me rolling along.

Do you hope children AND adults will read Peter Pan in Scarlet?

GM: I certainly do. I firmly believe that J. M. Barrie expected his book to be read to children by their parents and that is why he included so many 'asides' -- adult jokes and observations that no child would appreciate. Because I wanted to create a book like his, I too have included jokes and observations that will float unnoticed over a young reader's head but maybe bring a smile to the face of the parent reading to them.

You did some research on J. M. Barrie; what type of a person was he?

GM: I did enough to know that there was a lot of unhappiness in his life. But I don't know quite how useful it is to know that. Authors have lots of reasons for doing what they do. Quite often they want to get away from the here-and-now -- to escape to somewhere they like better in their imagination. I know I do. Barrie had LOTS of reasons for wanting to escape reality and fly off to the imaginary world he had created in Neverland. Maybe that's why he wrote. Then again, he was also the most successful writer and playwright of his age -- the richest author in England. So I guess he also had quite a professional attitude to his writing. He was not just some amateur, sucking on his pencil and letting his fantasies run away with him.

If you could have a conversation with J. M. Barrie today, what would you like to say to him?

GM: "My word, you're looking well for your age!" Seriously? I suppose I might ask if he minded me joining in his game -- and show him I had nothing wicked up my sleeve (like a hook).

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    AMAZING!

    This is the only "authorized" sequel of Peter Pan. I wasn't sure about reading it at first becuase some things are precious and should never be tampered with. This book couldn't be more different from the first but has the a child-like nature. By child-like I mean, remember when you were a kid and every time you went into make-believe it was so real and so serious that you were truly in another world? Well this book takes you back to that place, it so childishly real and serious that I was lost in it... A lost girl if you will, I forgot where I was, who I was in the best possible way. Read this book you won't regret it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 13, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Christina Tsichlis for TeensReadToo.com

    PETER PAN IN SCARLET by Geraldine McCaughrean should be read by every fan of J.M. Barrie's PETER PAN. <BR/><BR/>The reader will return to the age at which they first read the original and re-experience the wonder of seeing the world through the eyes of Peter Pan and his gang of comrades in adventure. It is the first approved sequel to the original tale, and the author manages to capture the style and excitement of Mr. Barrie's classic. It is remarkable in every sense of the word and, like the original, proceeds go to the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital and not to Barrie's estate. <BR/><BR/>Set in the 1920s, nightmares are slipping out of Neverland and into the real world to find Wendy and the original Lost Boys, who are now respectable adults with children of their own. They revert to children in a magical way and the adventure begins. <BR/><BR/>Neverland is no longer a land of eternal summer. It is currently Autumn, something that has not happened before. When Wendy and the Lost Boys make it back to Neverland, they meet Peter, who is alone but still the essence of Boy. After fighting through the denial of Peter, who loves Neverland in reds and golds as much as he does in shades of green, it is up to them to save it. <BR/><BR/>They face their worst fears, remember who they once were, and deal with the sadness of loss and the joy of love with a youthful exuberance that J.M. Barrie would be proud of. His creations are treated with the utmost respect and tenderness by an author who is truly in love with her story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2012

    peter pans mine!!!!!!!

    perer is my disney boyfriend so ha ha. This book is awsome i feel like i wanna be wendy

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2012

    LOVE IT !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I tried to read it in second grade but it was too big. I tried again the summer before 4th grade amd loved it. I took the book everywhere because I couldn't stop reading it. It's the best book ever !!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2012

    I love this book.

    This book is great but it does get kinda scsry. The basis of the story is that wendy snd the lost boys return to neverland because something had gone wrong. Towards the cend of story they find a great treasure but be warned. When vhence you put on someone elses clothing in neverland you become that person. Oh and you musnt trust the one who owns the carnival for that who is thought to be dead is not. The book might be kinda intense for younger kids because peter pan turns into cap- whoops. Almost gave away thr secret. Hee hee hee.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 10, 2013

    I love this book

    This author does a really great job with using the real story of peter pan and putting a cool realistic/science fiction twist on it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2013

    Wassup!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I love this book it is epic!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2012

    Love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Peter pan is my husband so sorry 2 dissapoint u all out there who like him but he is mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2012

    A good sequel to Peter Pan

    This book is a great follow up to J M Barrie's classic novel.The plot had alot of twwist and turns which was perfect for this book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Legend Lives On!

    J.M. Barrie is my favorite author and I don't believe anyone could match his ability to make his readers smile, sniffle and think hard all at once. "Peter and Wendy" appeals to people of all ages because it deals with the conflicts we have faced, are facing or will soon face as we move through the stages of life. "Peter Pan in Scarlet" does not accomplish the same objective, but McCaughrean's writing is faithful to many aspects of Barrie's. Children will laugh at her book, adults will smile, and betwixt-and-betweens who appreciate Peter Pan's character and struggles will understand what the story accomplishes for him. It does not pretend to be as psychologically revealing as the original novel, but in it Peter Pan and his Legend are developed in a delightful way.

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  • Posted March 15, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    FANTASTIC

    I LOVED this book. When I first picked it up, I wasn't so sure, because some things shouldn't be messed with. But this book was amazing, written truly in the spirit of the original J.M. Barrie, but it makes a bit more sense. :D It was a wonderful story, that I already can't wait to reread!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2007

    A reviewer

    I have to say that there are some really great snippets of writing in here that tap into the mind of a child. Everything has its own personality, whether alive or not, and reading those parts made me feel like I was five years old again and snuggled up with my favorite picture book. However, it took me about six months to finish this book because it was almost TOO sweet and I wouldn't pick it up again until weeks later. Plus, I did not like the direction the author took the characters--I feel it ruined the storybook magic of Peter Pan. I would recommend it for those little bits of clever writing, but not if you are looking for a book you can't put down.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2007

    Fairly Trite

    It's too bad that Geraldine McCaughrean has to say that she is the 'official' author to the sequel to James Barrie's original story of 'Peter Pan' because it's just not that good. It's certainly not as entertaining OR as well written as Dave Barry's sequels whether 'official' or not. It just smacks of one-up-man-ship on the part of the author. Let the book speak for itself. This reviewer is glad to say that I can't wait for yet another of Dave's sequels to hit the shelves! You will actually like this book if you liked 'Hook'. Somewhat similar in that the characters are grown up and go back to Neverland.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 14, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2008

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    Posted July 11, 2010

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews

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