I have always loved Peter Pan, so I was elated when I first saw this new collection from Lori Mitchell!

The stories of Peter Pan are straight from the imagination of Scottish author and playwright J.M. Barrie (such a strange word, playwright...why is it "wright" and not "write?  I will have to look into that, but I digress...).

The Character of Peter Pan first appeared in Barrie's novel "The Little White Bird," although this is not the Peter that most of us recognize today.  This version of Peter was a young baby who flew out of his nursery, spending time with birds and fairies and apparently riding around on a goat!

The Peter Pan that we all know and love was actually inspired by a family of young boys, who Barrie met while walking his dog in Kensington Gardens, and to whom he eventually became guardian after both of their parents passed away (The movie "Finding Neverland" with Johnnie Depp is actually about this!).

Captain Hook was not  part of the original story.  According to Barrie's notes, he felt that the story did not actually need a villain, as Peter was capable of wreaking enough havoc on his own.  However, Barrie realized that during the stage version of his story, he needed to fill time during a scene change and added in a pirate ship, which eventually lead to the introduction of Captain Hook.

 Barrie produced numerous works containing the stories of Peter Pan, including both books and plays.  In 1929, Barrie allocated the rights to Peter Pan to a Children's Hospital in Britain, and although the copyright on Peter Pan has expired, the hospital still receives royalties from certain productions in the United Kingdom.

I could go on and on, but I won't do that.  Peter Pan is such a beloved children's story, but the story behind the story is fascinating in itself!  Lori Mitchell has beautifully depicted some of Barrie's famous characters.  Be sure to check them out, along with other favorite storybook characters, on the ESC website!

***Source: Biography.com***

August 31, 2022 — Dianna Jordan

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