Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews
Peter and the Starcatchers
Illustrator: Greg Call
For ages 10 and up
Disney Press, 2006 ISBN: 978-0786854455
Peter is one of five orphaned boys who have been chosen to go "away" on a ship to some as yet undisclosed place. It is only once he is on board the Never Land that Peter finds out that he and his friends are destined for the land of Rundoon where they will serve as servants to King Zarboff the Third. This is not as good as it sounds for King Zarboff is a very evil man who has the habit of feeding his servants to his enormous pet snake.
On board the Never Land Peter meets a girl called Molly. While searching for food one night he comes across a guarded room and when he goes into the room (the guard is asleep) he finds Molly, a large trunk, and a flying rat within. A flying rat? Clearly there is something very special about the trunk and Peter is determined to find out what it is. Molly seems to know but for the time being at least she isn't telling.
It is only when they find out that the Never Land is being pursued by the dreaded pirate Black Stache, that Molly explains that she is a Starcatcher, a person whose job it is to keep a very precious substance called starstuff out of the hands of evil people. The trunk in the hold of the Never Land is full of starstuff and something has to be done to make sure that neither the pirates nor one of the Others gets their hand on the precious material.
Soon a deadly race is on as the Never Land tries to flee the pirates and is sunk by a fierce storm. It is only when the children find themselves on the island of Mollusk that they fully begin to appreciate the truly extraordinary powers that starstuff can have.
Readers will have a hard time putting down this book once they have started reading it. Within its pages you will find out how the famous Peter Pan came to be able to fly, why he lives on an island called Neverland in the company of a fairy, and why a certain pirate captain is forever seeking ways to capture the extraordinary boy who never grows old. It would be hard to go wrong with a tale which includes pirates, shipwrecks, mermaids, magic, secret societies, a man eating crocodile, but in this particular book Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson have brought these elements together to create a real tour de force which readers of all ages will enjoy.