Peter and the Starcatchers
by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
Publisher: Disney Editions
Reading level: MG
Don’t even think of starting this book unless you’re sitting in a comfortable chair and have lots of time. A fast-paced, impossible-to-put-down adventure awaits as the young orphan Peter and his mates are dispatched to an island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They set sail aboard the Never Land, a ship carrying a precious and mysterious trunk in its cargo hold, and the journey quickly becomes fraught with excitement and danger. Discover richly developed characters in the sweet but sophisticated Molly, the scary but familiar Black Stache, and the fearless Peter. Treacherous battles with pirates, foreboding thunderstorms at sea, and evocative writing immerses the reader in a story that slowly and finally reveals the secrets and mysteries of the beloved Peter Pan. (synopsis from Goodreads)
This book has been sitting in my TBR pile for ages. I'm trying to complete the Off The Shelf Challenge, so I went back to that pile and chose to read this book. I'd heard good things about it and, even though it is a middle grade title (and not the YA or adult stuff I've gravitated towards lately), I was not disappointed. In fact, I really enjoyed this one.
Peter and the Starcatchers is a prequel to the Peter Pan stories by J. M. Barrie. Most of the main characters make an appearance here (with the exception of Wendy and her brothers; presumably, this story takes place quite a while before those events). Peter starts out as an orphan who, along with some other young boys from the orphanage, is put on a sailing ship bound for a strange land. It's the beginning of a great adventure and the authors do a nice job of providing backstory for the later, more familiar stories about Peter Pan and Neverland.
I don't want to say much more about the story, for fear of giving too much away. But I will say that I'd definitely recommend this book... to middle graders, as well as to anyone else who enjoys the story of Peter Pan and would like to know what happened before Peter met the Darling children.
Overall: 4.57 out of 5