Monday, August 27, 2012

Grow Up Peter Pan!

In the early 1990's, Dr. Alvin Granowsky wrote a series of Point of View books for Steck-Vaughn Company. They were based on fairy tales and classic literature. I had only encountered the fairy tales when I was teaching. I recently came across some of the classic versions and the first of these was Peter Pan/Grow Up, Peter Pan!: A Classic Tale (Point of View) that I found in our library system.

These books have an interesting format. In this edition, the Peter Pan classic story is told in an abbreviated format if you hold the book in one direction. When you turn the book upside down and read it from the other direction, you get an alternate version of the story told from another character's perspective. Captain Hook tells the alternate story.

I would suggest reading the classic version of Peter Pan to get the full value of the story. The shorter version does leave something to be desired.

However, Hook's defense is remarkable. He claims he and his shipmates were running a legitimate business when they encountered Peter Pan. Hook offered Peter a chance to work, but Peter claimed he would never work for a living, which horrified the hard working Hook. Hook was further dismayed when he realized not only was Peter refusing to work, but he was kidnapping boys from their homes to join his crew. He continues to chronicle his misguided attempts to reform Peter and the Lost Boys. He claims he was greatly concerned that Peter would turn them to a life of crime. This is what he says eventually creates a confrontation between Peter and himself that results in his arm being eaten by the crocodile. Hook recounts that his lost leg and arm have left him reading the classics and tending his garden, hoping the authorities will get Peter into school and working.

This is a great companion read to Peter Pan. Children are often presented with boring compare and contrast exercises. Granowsky has provided a wonderful set of contrasting accounts for children to discuss and debate.

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