Peter Pan is one book about which I can say with a great sight of relief, “I’m so glad we finished this book!” Unfortunately, this is but one more example of a book I went into blindly, having never read it before myself. Unlike some books I’ve read without previewing, there was nothing in Peter Pan that I would consider too grotesque or shocking to read to my 4 year old and 6 year old daughters. (Mary Poppins comes to mind immediately as such a book. Have you read it?) However, I just found Peter Pan extremely challenging to read aloud. Maybe it’s my slow, post-partum brain, but this book is a mouthful and then some. In addition to some obscure (at least to me, certainly to my girls) British-isms and allusions to unfamiliar situations (political, maybe?), something about Barrie’s style is just hard for me to read. In fact, there were several times when I thought I’d just give up this story altogether, but my girls wouldn’t let me. I will say that the fight between Captain Hook and Peter and the Lost Boys at the end of the story is riveting, so I’m glad we made it that far.
I was happy to follow up our unabridged version of the book with a Robert Sabuda pop-up, which we’ve had on the shelf for quite a while. (If you’re unfamiliar with Sabuda, by all means visit his website and acquaint yourself with this amazing paper artist. You can also read my previous posts about him here and here.) As with all of Sabuda‘s creations, this one is nothing less than spectacular. I found it interesting to note the changes in this abridged version of the story, though. Although the Sabuda book actually includes a good bit of the story (especially for such a lushly illustrated book), some details (which are endearing or weird, and sometimes both) were left out. For example, at the end of the story, Mr. Darling has taken to sleeping in Nana’s (the canine nanny who cares for the Darling children) kennel as punishment for treating Nana poorly. In the Sabuda version, though, this detail is left out. My girls thought this part was particularly funny, so I wonder at this “sanitizing” of the story. Any thoughts on abridged versions and how the editors decide what to leave out? (I understand editing for length, etc., but I’m just wondering about the details. I’ll admit that I found some parts of the story just a little bit weird, but still. . . the story is what it is, right?)
Now I just need to introduce my girls to the Disney version. I always have such mixed feelings about doing this, for some reason. I think at heart I’m such a purist/perfectionist (yes, I’m sorry to say that I am) that it’s hard for me to offer them a watered-down version of anything. However, another part of me thinks they’re missing out on a fun part of childhood by not seeing some of these old classics.
I’m apparently in a contemplative mood, so I want to ask you, my dear Read Aloud Thursday readers, a couple of questions:
- How do you feel about abridgements and movie/cartoon adaptations of classics?
- Do you ever abandon a book just because you don’t like it–even if your children do like it?
Please share with us what you’re reading aloud together as a family! Leave a link to your specific blog post below, or simply leave a comment.