Peter and the Shadow Thieves (Written by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson)
January 18, 2009 in Barry, Dave, Pearson, Ridley, Young Adult Novels Tags: , Captain Hook, Dave Barry, Never Land, Peter and the Shadow Thieves, Peter Pan, reading response journals, Ridley Pearson, the Starcatchers
Reviewed by Margo Dill, www.margodill.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
Before I get on with the usual business of talking about a book, I want to share with you that this blog has recently won an award–The Premio Dardos–and it was given to Read These Books and Use Them by a fantastic blog about women and writing, “The Muffin” (WOW! Women On Writing ezine’s blog) ! YEA!
About the award: “Premio Dardos” means “prize darts” in Italian, and the award is given in recognition of cultural, ethical, literary, and personal values transmitted in the form of creative and original writing.
The rules are:
1) Accept the award by posting it on your blog along with the name of the person that has granted the award and a link to his/her blog.
2) Pass the award along to blogs you find worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been selected for this award.
My choices for the award are:
1. Jen Robinson’s Book Page–This blog promotes the love of books by children and the continued reading of children’s books by adults.
2. Jody Feldman (author of THE GOLLYWHOPPER GAMES) Live Journal–I love Jody Feldman’s writing, and this blog is full of interesting and fun facts as well as useful information about words, children’s books, and being a writer.
3. Alice’s CWIM Blog–This blog states that it is, “Not-quite-daily news and musings from the editor of Children’s Writer’s & Illustrator’s Market.” If you are looking for news on the latest children’s books or authors or want to write for children yourself, check out this blog!
Thanks again to “The Muffin” for giving this blog an award, now on to the regular scheduled programming. . .
Young Adult novel (although I found this in the YA section of the library, I do think upper elementary students would LOVE this book, too–and it is appropriate) and it’s fantasy!
A boy who never ages as the main character
Rating: I didn’t think it was possible for a 2nd book of a series to be better than the first, but this book is absolutely wonderful. It is well-paced, funny, holds you on the edge of your seat–it is fantastic!
Short, short summary: If you are not familiar with this series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, then get familiar. Just kidding. Basically, they are writing the prequel to the beloved Peter Pan story, about the boy who could fly and never aged in Never Land. The first book is Peter and the Starcatchers, and you should probably read that first before this one, just so you understand the world Barry and Pearson have created. (On a side note, I actually listened to this on audio book, and it was narrated by Jim Dale. For you Harry Potter fans, you know EXACTLY who I am talking about. Jim Dale is the narrator of the Harry Potter audio books. I want to write a book set in England just so I can get Jim Dale to read my audio book. He is wonderful.)
On to the plot of Peter and the Shadow Thieves. . .Peter and the lost boys, the pirates, and the natives are all living fairly happily on the island of Never Land together. Captain Hook would love to hook Peter, and Peter loves to torment him by flying above and throwing mangoes, but that’s not really what this story is about. They all have deeper troubles. The Others, along with some pretty nasty sailors, come to the island to retrieve the trunk of starstuff, only it is no longer on the island. Thanks to this super scary character, Lord Ombra, who can steal people’s shadows and control their minds, the sailors and the Others discover that Molly Aster’s family (who come from a long line of Starcatchers) have the trunk and are waiting for the return. Now the adventure begins. . .Peter and Tinker Bell (who is so funny–I love when Tinker Bell chimes something mean, and Peter translates it as something nice–hysterical) set off to warn Molly and her family about the Others. The sailors and the Others set off on a plan to kidnap Molly and her mother, so her father will have to turn over the starstuff. Once Peter leaves the island, Barry and Pearson do not forget about the troubles at home, and the pirates wind up kidnapping some of the boys in hopes of trapping Peter Pan. And I’ll stop here, since this is supposed to be a short, short summary, but if you love adventure, fantasy, and Peter Pan–read this book!
So, what do I do with this book?
1. Setting is a great skill to discuss with students or your children when reading this book. Barry and Pearson make you feel like you are in each of these places with Peter and the other characters in the book. How do they do this? By using sensory details. They don’t just tell what a place looks like–they use all their senses to describe a place. Find some of the best sensory details (describing setting), read them aloud, and discuss them as a class. Then ask your students to write about a place–real or imagined–using sensory details and techniques they learned from studying Barry’s and Pearson’s writing.
2. If your students could write a prequel to a fairy tale or story they love, which one would it be? What would be the basic plot? Ask students to write a journal entry in their reading response journals about a favorite story and its prequel. You can also talk about other prequels–such as the three movies that are the prequel to Star Wars. If any of your students have seen the musical Wicked, that’s a prequel to The Wizard of Oz. Discuss why authors write prequels and why readers seem to love them!
3. Point of view and voice are very important in this book. Because the story is not just told from Peter’s point of view, the authors had to develop other voices in the story. Discuss this technique with your students. The way Barry and Pearson wrote this book (with the different POVs) actually creates more suspense and humor, instead of sticking with the traditional main character’s voice to tell the story. Did your students like the way the voice and point of view changed throughout the book?
If you have used this book with your students or your children, please leave a comment here and let us know how it went!