Walt Disney's Peter Pan: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Mary Blair

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Walt Disney's Peter Pan: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Mary Blair

Category: Emerging Readers
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A quick retelling and summary of the Disney classic, using rare concept art from the animation as its selling point.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 64 Date: September 2017
Publisher: Egmont
ISBN: 9781405287012

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I'll take it pretty much as read that you know the story of Peter Pan, the young boy who left his shadow behind, and in collecting it took three children with him to a fantasy world full of nasty men, danger and mystery. I know, the lad is totally irresponsible. You may well know it from panto, or from Disney – and it's the latter that this book is concerning. It's a very snappy capture of the story that won't take long at all to read, but it's what that text is paired with that makes it worth attention.

Mary Blair was a long-time worker with the Disney animators, and created so many images that they have managed to cobble together three whole books based mostly on her concept art for the classic cartoon movies. They don't go into cinematic detail here, being rough concepts, but they helped define the look, the feel and certainly the mood of things, whether it be the beginnings of the Indian hunt or the gloomy battles with Hook.

Also, being concept art, they don't always stick to what you would think is important with every page, so it's only the ninth spread when we get a clear look at Pan. Little of the actual characters comes across here, as that was the job of the real animators – only now and again do you get a look at anyone. So partly the book is relying on the script, coming here in a new text adaptation. And it's very whimsical in approach, breaking the fourth wall to speak to us in asides and so on. But it again also suffers – in being such a rapid digest of a full film it contains no dialogue, and a lot of summary. It's a fact that the longest thing in speech marks here is the BOOM! of Hook's bomb.

Added to sentences like It was a big, terrific fight, with swords and sails and pirates and, at one point, a very unhappy crab and you really do feel this is too curt a recap. Certainly I don't remember the crab – and the very young may well need to have been shown the film first before turning to this as a book to share at bedtime. That is not a problem – we encourage people turning to books alongside films, as long as they have a healthy appreciation for both and for what came first. But this is an at-times glib memento of the movie, very much a spin-off, and for all its visual merits doesn't grab you as a most accessible introduction to such a heroic figure as Peter Pan.

I must thank the publishers for my review copy.

We also enjoyed the visual side of the retelling you get with J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan: The Graphic Novel by Stref.

Buy Walt Disney's Peter Pan: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Mary Blair at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Walt Disney's Peter Pan: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Mary Blair at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Walt Disney's Peter Pan: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Mary Blair at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Walt Disney's Peter Pan: Illustrated by Mary Blair (Walt Disney Classics) by Dave Barry, Ridley Pearson and Mary Blair at Amazon.com.


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