Peter Pan, that impish never-aging character first immortalized by British author J.M Barrie in 1911, now will come to life again. A sequel to Barrie’s original book, is now due to be released by another British author, Geraldine McCaughrean, who may wind up as being even more famous than Harry Potter creator, J.K Rowling. The book, scheduled to be released in a lavish event planned in London’s Kensington Palace, is the result of a contest in which over 200 authors competed for the winning manuscript to the story that captured the hearts and imagination of both children and adults for nearly 100 years.
Ms. McCaughrean, a writer of children’s books, became fascinated with the idea of bringing Peter Pan, Wendy and the children, the Lost Boys, and of course, Captain Hook, back to life in a sequel that presents Wendy as a mother herself and the Lost Boys as “old boys”. Not only is the fairy Tinker Bell appearing, but a new fairy character as well.
The book, entitled Peter Pan in Scarlet, takes place 20 years after the original story, when Wendy receives a secret message that things are not right at all in Neverland and that she must go back and help the Lost Boys and other characters there set things right. In this sequel, set around fairies, pirates, and other characters similar to Barrie’s novel, Peter Pan himself, though still the impish never-grow-old character he was before is a selfish, unkind personality who likes to play tricks on people, as Wendy soon finds out. “The topic really got a grip on me”, McCaughrean said when interviewed recently. And no wonder, as Geraldine herself is a very prolific author with 125 books including a child’s verson of Geoffrey Chaucer’s immortal classic: Canterbury Tales.
One important change in Peter Pan in Scarlet is the message that growing up (and old) is not as bad as it was described in the original verson when Peter said he never wanted to grow up.
James Matthew Barrie, who himself had no children, and preferred the company of children rather than adults, adopted some boys whose parents had died from cancer. These boys were most likely the Lost Boys of his novel. Barrie donated all of the royalties from both the novel and its characters to the Great Ormond Street Hospital in London where Barrie died. Part of the proceeds from McCaughrean’s book will go toward providing extensive renovations to this famous London landmark that managed to survive WWII virtually intact.
The book is being published in the U.K. by Oxford Press; and in the U.S.A. by Simon & Schuster. And as for the movie? Well, let’s all enjoy the book first!
(Photograph courtesy of Disney)