Life for an orphan in the late nineteenth century was no picnic. Peter and his “mates”, James, Prentiss, Thomas and Tubby Ted, think that their future could not possibly be worse than living at St. Norbert’s Home for Wayward Boys. Boarding the Never Land, however, they realize that the ship they are taking to their new home is manned by a crew of shady characters. Only one thing is worse than the bug infested food: the first mate, Slank, who rules the sailors with an iron fist. If not for a warning from another young passenger, Molly Aster, Peter might have tried to escape this well-guarded vessel. He would not have succeeded.
Befriended by Molly, a member of the “starcatchers”, Peter and his friends learn the secret of star dust, a magical and immensely powerful substance that falls to earth. Molly and her father have been charged with protecting a chest of stardust from men with evil intentions. Black Stache and his pirates capture the Never Land but, Peter and his friends find that pirates are not the only danger they face. Peter’s quick thinking and bravery helps him to outwit “savages”, a giant crocodile and even the enemies of the starcatchers.
Thus begins Barry and Pearson’s prequel to the classic story of Peter Pan. Fast-paced, short chapters make this somewhat lengthy book a page-turner that should hold even a reluctant reader’s attention. Multiple sexual innuendos, including underclothed mermaids, as well as frequent, excessive rum consumption suggest that readers in the publisher’s intended audience might not be ready for all of the book’s content. Peter’s loyalty and Molly’s sense of duty give the book some value that may be worthwhile for older readers.
Jennifer Minicus is a mother and teacher living in Ridgewood, NJ.