Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Peter and the Starcatchers

Posted October 8, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

Peter and the Starcatchers (Peter and the Starcatchers, #1)Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry
Series: Peter and the Starcatchers, 1
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First in the Peter and the Starcatchers children’s fantasy series loosely based upon Peter Pan, the Lost Boys, and Neverland.

The Story
Is it fate or happenstance that five lonely orphan boys are being shipped out on a dilapidated ship along with a young but valiant lady, a starcatcher by birth? Molly Aster is unexpectedly guarding a valuable treasure from the stars aboard the Never Land. A treasure that was somehow switched with the decoy.

Under fire from Captain Black Stache, the storm that rises up sends everyone ashore where more and greater adventures ensue and the starstuff wreaks havoc on all.

The Characters
Leonard Aster and his daughter, Molly, are from a long line of starcatchers and they were escorting a valuable trunk of starstuff to be returned to space. Well, one of ’em is anyway… For Molly is on the Never Land while her father is on one of the Royal Navy ships.

Peter, James, Prentiss, Thomas, and Tubby Ted are the five orphans being sent to King Zarboff III to a lifetime of slavery

Fighting Prawn is the leader of the Mollusk Indians after escaping over a decade of pressed service in His Majesty’s navy. Alf was one of Mr. Slank’s men from the Never Land who was won over by the trunk of starstuff and became an ally for the Molly and Peter.

Slank is the first mate and actual captain of the Never Land and you can just tell from how he treats people that he’s a bad man. Just ask Ammm. Captain Black Stache is an evil pirate with a crew of idjits headed up by Smee. Mister Grin is the lizard who grew after exposure to the starstuff.

My Take
At last! The “true story” behind Peter Pan, mermaids, centaurs, and sea monsters! Actually Barry and Pearson have been ingenious in using the Peter Pan tale to create their own children’s fantasy and it is quite an adventure from the start of the tale to the end of this installment. The authors have cleverly explained most of the highlights of the Peter Pan story from the captain’s hook, the crocodile who trails him, Tinker Bell—including her bells!, the origin of Neverland, from whence the lost boys came, why Peter will never grow up, how they gained the ability to fly…it’s too much fun for words!!

It does have a sad ending. One that will have you reaching for the next in the series, Peter and the Shadow Thieves.

The Cover
The cover certainly makes you think Peter Pan as the evil Captain Black Stache stands braced with surprise, his sword in his hand…he’d better enjoy having that hand while it lasts! His sidekick, Smee, is holding Molly prisoner with all three of them standing on the deck of a ship with the trunk of starstuff glimmering in a trail pointing to Peter, flying, backlit by the moon. I do love how the “magic continues” with the holographic effect of the title and the three-sided border on the cover!

The title, Peter and the Starcatchers, is an excellent summary of the story although it doesn’t hold up at the end.

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