Here is another book whose cover begs the reader to pick it up. I wish there were explanatory remarks on Steve Adam’s illustrations. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about art to discern the process. The results however, are priceless - full page, “framed” illustrations that appear to be aged paintings on wood, evoking J.M. Barrie’s bygone era, the images of Barrie, boyishly similar to those of Peter Pan. The text, as well, speaks of a simpler, bygone age. Here Yolen recounts the adult Jamie Barrie playing in the park with young boys,
Soon the boys were playing games with Jamie and his dog, the nanny sternly looking on. Jamie could wiggle his ears, do magic, tell wild stories just as he had as a boy in the upstairs room. He could make up plays as he had with Robb in the washhouse He led the boys in pirate games, just as he had with his childhood friend Stuart in the Dumfries Academy.J.M. Barrie clearly placed a bit of himself in his famous character. It was interesting to learn that
he gifted the copyright for Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Hospital for Sick Children in London, which meant that any money made from the book, the play, and associated sales, went to the hospital.Peppered throughout Lost Boy are quotes from Barrie’s works,
“(S)he was just slightly disappointed when he admitted that he came to the nursery window not to see her but to listen to stories.” From Peter Pan and Wendy,accompanied by small “window” illustrations of each quote. A selected list of works and a list of famous actresses (yes, they’ve all been women) who have portrayed Peter Pan completes the book.
Booklist suggests Lost Boy for grades 2-4, SLJ for grades 3-5, Amazon for ages 4-8(!). I think SLJ has the best suggestion, although I would add sixth grade as well. Sadly, at only 40 pages, this book may not pass the minimum page requirement imposed by many teachers (a pet peeve of mine).
A detailed look at the man who created one of our most enduring literary characters.