Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean – 20 Books of Summer

Peter Pan in Scarlet cover

Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean is the official sequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan which was commissioned by Great Ormond Street Hospital. Barrie gave all the royalties for Peter Pan to the famous children’s hospital. There was a competition to see who would get the contract to write the sequel and McCaughrean won it, I feel that this might have something to do with the several one star so-called reviews of the book on Goodreads have possibly been posted by some who had hoped to win the chance to write the sequel. I cannot think of any other reason for them, and the posts just show up the reviewers as being ignorant. I doubt if they have ever read the actual original Peter Pan book and possibly have been no closer to it than the Disney animation and so have no notion of how well McCaughrean captured Barrie’s writing style.

As a bit of a J.M.Barrie fan I feel sure that he would have been absolutely thrilled with this sequel, the author has a fabulous imagination so it’s a very witty and entertaining read and beautifully written. The detractors obviously have no idea of the history behind Peter Pan, how Barrie based the Darling children on the Llewelyn Davies boys that he had befriended along with their parents. Michael was killed in the First World War and so he is missing from the cast in this book, and even that was well dealt with, but that horrified the one star ‘reviewers’.

All over parts of London ‘old boys’ who had been in Neverland are having vivid dreams about the place. They are adults now and have responsible careers and frequent a London club, one is even a judge. But Neverland is calling them and Mrs Wendy encourages them, so the old boys agree that on Saturday, 5th of June they’ll go to Neverland, it’s pencilled into their diaries, they just have to find some fairy dust so they can fly again. The Old Boys set off for Kensington Gardens with butterfly nets, intent on catching some fairies.

Of course they do get back to Neverland and Peter Pan, and so begins an adventure to rival Barrie’s. I don’t want to say too much about the story but it involves pirates, a strange ravelling wool man, thousands of fairies who have taken sides in a pointless war – are you red or are you blue?

This book is smart and witty and it was lovely to re-visit Neverland again and the old characters.

I hate to think that it might be dodged by future readers because of some ignorant reviews online. One reviewer was so incensed because of the way the First Nation people are referred to in the book. Such words as papoose, squaw and Red-Indian are used in this book. SO WHAT! When I read that nonsense I was fizzing mad. If people are so upset by the use of words that have now been deemed to be outdated then I would be more impressed if they actually did something to help the plight of the First Nation people who are in dire straits today, and in need of being treated like human beings instead of people being ‘upset’ by the use of anachronistic words in 2020 when a book is set in the 1920s-30s. Of course the use of the words is totally in keeping with the times that this book was set in. There are so many people trawling the net looking for reasons to pull someone apart and just showing themselves up as idiots.

I was lucky enough to be able to buy a signed edition of Peter Pan in Scarlet. This was the third book from my 20 Books of Summer list.

One by one, the individual flecks of colour separated and floated down, like rose petals at the end of summer. They brushed the upturned faces; settled on their shoulders. More and more fell: a light snow of flaking colour. Like snow it mesmerized them – a dizzying downward whirl of prettiness. Instead of spray from the waterfall they could feel only the soft touch of a thousand thousand fragments of loveliness. It piled up in their hair; it filled their ears and pockets; it tugged on their clothing. Tugged?

‘Fairies!’ cried Tootles delightedly. ‘Thousands of fairies!’

Sorry this was a bit of a rant. But….

This was book 3 from my 20 Books of Summer list

Aberdeen book purchases – part 2

Yet More Books

The second bookshop in Aberdeen that we visited is a charity one right in the Merkat Square and as the books are all donated they sell them very cheaply. I bought:

1. The Century’s Daughter by Pat Barker
2. The Rendezvous by Daphne du Maurier
3. The World My Wilderness by Rose Macaulay
4. Beautiful Just! by Lillian Beckwith
5. Green Hand by Lillian Beckwith
6. Bruach Blend by Lillian Beckwith
7. The Spuddy by Lillian Beckwith
8. The Road Home by Rose Tremain
9. A Pack of Lies by Geraldine McCaughrean
10. Young Bess by Margaret Irwin
11. The Cockle Ebb by Isabel Cameron
12. The Herries Chronicle by Hugh Walpole This is an omnibus consisting of four books which are set in the Lake District/Cumbria area, and first published in 1939 although mine is a 1955 reprint.
Rogue Herries
Judith Paris
The Fortress
Vanessa

Visiting St Andrews just after Christmas I bought a lovely edition of Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. You can see some of the illustrations here. – also from St Andrews – Young Bess by Margaret Irwin, and the postman brought me –
In a Dark Wood Wandering by Hella S. Haasse.

That lot should keep me going for a while. Have you read any of them?

New to me books

On Sunday we went to the antiques fair at Ingliston, we hadn’t managed to go to the last one they had there as we were down south – in a place that others call ‘up north’ but it’s all relative. It was one of those dodging cameras days as they were filming an episode of Bargain Hunt that day.

Mauchline Box

Almost everything I bought was paper – books and postcards although I also bought yet another Mauchline box although I had decided ages ago that I would collect no more of them, but this one has a particularly pretty decoration on the lid and the image is of St Anne’s Well in Malvern. Next time we visit Malvern I’m going to seek it out as there’s a cafe there now.

New to me Books - and a Box

Anyway – to the books. I bought four books from a travel series called About Britain, these date from 1951 and they have the Festival of Britain logo on the dust jackets. The actual book covers underneath are pristine versions of the dust jackets. I’ve discovered that there were 13 books in the series and I bought:

Book Covers and a Box

Lowlands of Scotland
North Wales
The Lakes to Tyneside
Lancashire and Yorkshire
I’ve checked up on the internet and most of these books are available at a very reasonable price so I intend to complete the collection eventually.

I also bought the official sequel to J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, I’m a bit of a Peter Pan fan. It’s called Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean and is inscribed and signed by her. J.M. Barrie gave his Peter Pan royalties to Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital and despite the fact that the copyright has run out they are still getting the money from it and presumably they gain from this one too.

The last book that I bought is a lovely wee copy of Oscar Wilde’s The Ballad of Reading Gaol and other poems. This book has been bound to look much older than it is. It was published by Heron Books in 1970 and again it’s dirt cheap. I had never read The Ballad of R G, it was deemed unsuitable for many poetry books I think, so I was keen to read it, it’s long and as you would expect, not exactly uplifting.

The postcards that I bought are old ones of Loch Lomond, years ago I started to collect old postcards from places that we had lived in (I grew up near Loch Lomond) but it’s a long time since I added to them.

Not a lot of money was spent and we had enjoyable chats with some of the stallholders, it was a good day out. Jack didn’t buy anything, but I think he enjoyed himself!

Children’s illustrated books

I still find myself eyeing up children’s books even although there are no wee ones in our family now, and sometimes I just have to add a few more to my collection. My most recent purchases have been:

Wenceslas cover

WENCESLAS by Geraldine McCaughrean and illustrated by Christian Birmingham. It’s obviously just a re-telling of the traditional Good King Wenceslas fairy tale but the illustrations are lovely and give a real sense of the falling snow. You can see for yourself here and can also see some of the other books he has illustrated, more for me to look out for!

And another book I bought recently is:

Minou cover

Minou – it’s a book about a cat called Minou whose ‘owner’ dies, so Minou ends up on the streets having to learn how to fend for herself. Minou lives in Paris and it was really the beautiful illustrations of Paris that attracted me to the book, but the story is a way of teaching little girls to be independent and confident, to rely on themselves. It was written by Mindy Bingham and illustrated by Itoko Maeno. You can see some illustrations here.

Some people on the internet are trying to sell this book for silly money – such as £88 but I bought a perfect copy (1st edition) for all of £3.