Arthur Rackham (1867 - 1939) is one of the best known illustrators of children's literature, and his Peter Pan is not the Mary Martin teen-ager of stage and Disney. Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens is a chubby little seven-day-old baby, sometimes naked, sometimes bundled into a long white night-dress:
"[Peter's] age is one week, and though he was born so long ago he has never had a birthday, nor is there the slightest chance of his ever having one. The reason is that he escaped from being a human when he was seven days old; he escaped by the window and flew back to the Kensington Gardens."
When Peter forgets how to fly, he is trapped on an island in the Serpentine, with only the birds for friends. But the thrushes help him build a boat and when he lands in the Gardens, the fairy queen grants him the privilege of going where ever he chooses.
This book's fifty full-color plates are mainly in sepia tones with occasional notes of man's moss green cravat; a wash of marigold and bronze at a fairy picnic; the roseate border of Queen Mab's cloak. Rackam's attention to detail was exquisite and there is just enough color to lend his drawings buoyancy. There has never been an artist better equipped to reveal the world of children's stories to us.
This book is a facsimile of the 1906 edition of "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens." As Patricia Horan says in the introduction, "This is not merely a children's book. This is one of the few works of art that may succeed in rescuing us from our adulthood."
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Elaine Lovitt (starmoth)
I'm a retired geek whose goal is to move to Discworld and apprentice myself to Granny Weatherwax. I have degrees in Astronomy and Computer Science, but was seduced by the Dark Side a few years before … more
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Grade 3-5-- A portion of the royalties from this book are being donated to a British charity, but that's not a strong enough reason to buy it. Four movable pictures (the sort that rotate to dissolve from one scene to another), plus a scattering of tiny, hard-to-find flaps, accompany an incoherently abridged text. The slightly antique-looking art is crudely executed; small figures with distorted or indistinct features change relative sizes from spread to spread, and are placed, in most scenes, with no discernible logic. Stick with the original, available in several handsome editions, or if you must have an abridgment, go for the book/cassette package illustrated by Diane Goode, read by Lynn Redgrave, and adapted by Josette Frank (Random, 1987). - John Peters, New York Public Library Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.