Sunday, March 24, 2013

Project Disney: Book and Movie Review: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie (no spoiler and spoiler section included)

Project Disney is Hosted by Picture Me Reading. Their goal is to read all the original novels for the Disney films. 

Book: Peter Pan
Author: J.M. Barrie
Publication: 1911
Source: Digital Library/ Project Gutenberg free classic ebooks.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Summary (From Goodreads)
Peter Pan, the book based on J.M. Barrie's famous play, is filled with unforgettable characters: Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up; the fairy, Tinker Bell; the evil pirate, Captain Hook; and the three children--Wendy, John, and Michael--who fly off with Peter Pan to Neverland, where they meet Indians and pirates and a crocodile that ticks. Renowned children's-book artist Michael Hague has brought the amazing adventures of Peter Pan to life. His beautiful illustrations capture the wild, seductive power of this classic book. This newly designed edition will be enjoyed by fans young and old alike

"Second to the right," said Peter "and then straight on till morning."

My Thoughts: Spoiler Free (my favorite review I have found of Peter Pan was done by Pink Polka Dot and can be found here.)

This post will just be oozing Peter Pan awesomeness because I loved this book just as much as I love the beloved Disney movie. The top part is spoiler free while the bottom part is full of spoilers. I'm going to try a different form of review for this one and in saying that there will be spoilers because I'm going to compare the book and the movie so if you don't care to read the book go ahead and keep reading or if you have read the book keep on reading. If you are either one leave me a comment because I would love to talk about this book more.

In the grand scheme of things the Disney movie wasn't too far off. The story in the Disney movie was basically the same as the book. Peter flies in through the window and the children fly off to never land where they have tons of adventures. I listened to this book through an audiobook from the library and I downloaded the ebook from Project Glutenburg so I could follow along. I thought the narrator did a really great job. There is actual songs that the children sing in this book and the narrator was able to sing the songs instead of just speaking them to me. I thought that was great and I laughed at his courage, but overall lack of singing talent. The narrator was able to be very serious when the story was serious and very silly when this story got silly. The thing about Peter Pan is it is pretty random and a lot of aspects of the story don't make sense, but it works for this novel because Peter Pan is so all over  the place as a character. Peter Pan is selfish, mostly only thinking of himself, and very forgetful. Peter Pan has many adventures, but he soon forgets what happens. My feeling is that Neverland is a place where children forget what is really going on and they are only absorbed in Neverland. Although this concept of forgetting about life might be nice for a little while in the grand scheme of things it is tragic. John and Michael forget a lot while in Neverland. Wendy was a very stereotypical women of the early 1900s. She was a mother, she cooked, cleaned, and mended clothes. Captain Hook had a nice role in this and was very well developed. His character and Smee were very funny because they were so illiterate.

Overall I loved the story and I loved comparing to the Disney movie which I have seen more times than I could count. I would suggest all Disney lovers or Peter Pan Lovers to read this book.

Spoiler Included  Disney Movie Comparisons (1953)

  • As the book was written in the early 1900s it used very old English using the word Gay to mean Happy as we no longer use the term.
  • Nana is still a dog, but she is also their nurse
  • Peter Pan is very silly, thoughtless, careless, and selfish. He is unable to form lasting relationships with anybody and he soon forgets about anything besides himself.
  • In the Movie Wendy tells the stories, but in the book Mother tells the stories about various fairy tales including Peter Pan
  • In the Movie Wendy did not spend much time with the Lost boys and refused to be in their mother, but In the book Wendy becomes the Lost boys mother she cooks, cleans, and does what normal women would do in the early 1900s. She was very stereotypical in that sense. I think the movie did a nice job of making her a stronger women.
  • The Mermaids stay the same as the movie they are still evil and don't like Wendy at all.
  • Tinker Bell is very mean throughout the book. She makes it clear that she does not like Wendy. The movie balanced her evil ways a bit better than the book did.
  • The Native Americans were call Redskins and they spoke very oddly not quite proper English. 
  • Captain Hook is seen as a coward in the book as he is in the movie. He is afraid of the Ticking Crocodile that can tell time. I quite enjoyed that part of both the book and movie.
  • A big thing that makes this book different from the movie is the sinister elements of the book. 
    • Hook tries to poison Peter's medicine
    • Tinker Bell drinks Peter's medicine so Peter will not die
    • Tinker Bell is saved by the children believing in fairies. 
    • Captain Hook dies by Peter's hand. 
  • The Children are kidnapped by Hook same as the movie and they are to walk the plank that is when Peter comes to rescue them and kills Captain Hook.
  • The Children return home to find their father in Nana's kennel where he is punishing himself for ever tying Nana up and their mother is sleeping at the paino in the nursery.
  • The Lost boys are adopted by Mr. and Mrs. Darling
  • Peter comes to say goodbye to Wendy. Mrs. Darling asks him to stay, but he says that he will never be forced by anybody to grow up. 
  • So alas Mrs. Darling promises that Wendy can come to Neverland every year to do the spring cleaning.
  • The first year Peter arrives, but it is another two years before Peter comes to get Wendy. He doesn't even realize that 2 years have passed. Wendy expects to talk of old times and Peter can only talk about himself.
  • Peter forgets who Hook is and who Tinker Bell is after she passes away.
  • That was the last time Wendy saw Peter. She was grown and married with her daughter Jane before she sees Peter again.
  • I was excited to find out that Jane existed because I largely thought Disney just made up the second movie and they mostly did as Jane is only mentioned for a few pages.
  • Wendy tells Jane Peter Pan stories as she does in the 2nd movie.
  • When Peter arrives for the last time Wendy tells Peter that she is grown up and can not fly. 
  • He tries to kill Jane, but instead sinks to the floor sobbing. 
  • Jane approaches Peter much the same way Wendy first did. 
  • Then Jane flies off to Neverland with Peter for Spring Cleaning. 
  • Then the final paragraph goes on to explain that Jane will have a daughter named Margaret and she will go off to Neverland for the spring cleaning. The final sentence explains how Margaret will have a daughter too and she will go off to Neverland. It will go on as long as children are "gay and innocent, and heartless."
  • The thing that is very sad about it all is that Peter will always be a careless child as these generations go on Peter will always be a boy who will never grow up. I find it sad that he will never experience more of a life than the one he lives now, but alas he is Peter Pan and he never wants to grow up. 

As you can see there were a number of things the movie left out for good reasons. I quite enjoyed this novel by J.M. Barrie and I still think Disney did an amazing job with the movie. I will probably be watching the movie again this week. I'm going to try to check out Hook from the library and watch that also. 

Thanks for reading



  1. Thank you for mentioning my blog!!! That was so nice of you :) I never thought about listening to an audio of this book... I bet that was cool. I also really liked the Hook and Croc. thing. I was glad that wasn't made up by Disney. I was really surprised how similar the book and Disney versions were. I expected them to be completely different... and I guess they were in some ways, but mainly it stuck to the same story. I wished Wendy had more of a role than just the mother, that ticked me off a little.

    Hook is a great movie... that used to be my baby cousin's favorite movie and one time when we were babysitting her she threw her hot chocolate all over my moms living room during the food fight scene... I'll never forget that!

    I love your review, great job!!!

    1. I loved the book and it makes me appreciate the Disney movie even more. Did you listen to the songs while you read the post?

  2. OH wow!! I totally just did a post almost on the exact same thing!!! You can find me talking about the book and the movie here:


    Angela's Anxious Life

    1. I just read your post this morning and now you have me very interested in Project Disney.

  3. I loved Hook! Enjoy! My favorite version of Peter Pan is the 2003 one (

    I recently enjoyed the book TIGER LILY by Jodi Lynn Anderson, and would recommend looking into that, too. And the Peter and the Starcatchers series is fun, too <3

    Fun post! :)

    1. I will be reading and reviewing Tiger Lily very soon. I will have to look into the starcatchers series. I have not seen the live action movie yet.


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