Peter and the Starcatchers

By: 

Dave Barry

Number of Pages: 

451

Minimum grade level: 

4th

Additional Contributors: Pearson, Ridley

Chances are if you are a movie fan, you've heard of Peter Pan. There's the Disney cartoon version from 1953 and the play from 1954. There's the 1991 live-action movie about a grown-up Peter (played by Robin Williams) going back to NeverLand. There was a live-action version released in 2003, and, most recently, there was a movie with Johnny Depp in 2004 about how J. M. Barrie was inspired to write the play and the book in the early 1900s - and most of these film versions are available at your local library.

But just in case you haven't read the book or seen any of the movies, here are the highlights: Peter is the boy who never grows up . . . He doesn't just act like a boy, he IS a boy, eternally. He lives in NeverLand; is friends with aborigines, mermaids, and the fairy Tinkerbell; and he spends most of his time making mischief and fighting pirates, like the dread Captain Hook - named for the hook he has instead of a left hand. Oh, and Peter can fly. Sounds like Peter has quite a life, doesn't it?

But some people aren't just satisfied with seeing a movie or reading a book. They want to know what happens next -- or what happened before. Why doesn't Peter grow up? How did he get to NeverLand? How can a boy fly? Who is Tinkerbell? Why is Captain Hook such a scoundrel and freaked out by crocodiles? These are some of the questions that are asked and answered in the book Peter and the Starcatchers, by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

Peter and the Starcatchers tells how Peter and his friends, the Lost Boys, came to NeverLand and how NeverLand came to be such a miraculous place. It is filled with sneaking around, thievery, double-crosses, and deception as Peter and his friends battle pirates, befriend the natives, and escape from a killer crocodile. If you liked the Peter Pan movies, or even if you just like books or movies about pirates, try reading Peter and the Starcatchers.

Discussion questions

Spoiler alert! Some of the questions contain key elements of the plot. Do not read if you don't want to know what happens!

  1. These authors took a well-known book and wrote about what happened before the events that took place in Peter Pan. What are some other books for which you'd like to know the "story before the story"?
  2. One of the sailors befriends Peter and the other boys and helps them against the pirates. Why do you think he helped them when none of the other sailors would?
  3. Black Stache is the main villain of this book, but is he the only one? If there are other evildoers in the book, what about their behavior would you describe as "villainous"?
  4. Peter and Molly's father talk about the good and bad parts about never getting any older. What do you think would be some positives and negatives? Would you want to stay the age you are at forever? Why or why not?
  5. Peter gains the ability to fly. If you could have a "super" ability, what would it be?
  6. Molly tells Peter that Greek and Roman mythology was mostly true, with the so-called gods being ordinary people who found and used starstuff. Can you think of any famous people in history or living today who seem like they might have access to starstuff?
  7. Do you think this book would make a good movie? If so, are there any parts you'd leave out? What actors would you cast as Peter, Molly and Black Stache?
  8. The starstuff helped to create the mermaids and the fairy. What other creatures from legends could have been created by exposing real animals to starstuff?
  9. Did reading this book make you want to read the original Peter Pan? Why or why not?
  10. The members of the Mollusk Clan don't like outsiders. Why? What do you think of their treatment of uninvited guests?

If you liked this book, try

  • Peter and the Shadow Thieves by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
  • Half-Moon Investigations by Eoin Colfer
  • Peppermints in the Parlor by Barbara Brooks Wallace
  • The Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo
  • Pure Dead Magic by Debi Gliori

Snacks

Try gummi worms and rats, Goldfish crackers, star fruit or Starburst candy, or fairy cakes (cupcakes).

Created in part with funds granted by the Oregon State Library under the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.