Peter Pan in Scarlet

Peter Pan in Scarlet

Infobox Book |

name = Peter Pan in Scarlet
author = Geraldine McCaughrean
cover_artist = David Wyatt (UK) Tony DiTerlizzi (US)
illustrator = Scott M. Fischer
language = English
publisher = Oxford University Press (UK) Margaret K. McElderry (US)
release_date = October 5, 2006
pages =
isbn =
preceded_by = Peter and Wendy

"Peter Pan in Scarlet" is a novel by Geraldine McCaughrean. It is an official sequel to J. M. Barrie's "Peter and Wendy", authorised by Great Ormond Street Hospital, who were given the rights to the character and original story by the author. McCaughrean was selected following a competition launched in 2004, in which novelists were invited to submit a sample chapter and plot outline. The book continues the story of the Lost Boys, the Darling family, and Peter Pan, in 1926 during the reign of George V and following World War I.

The book was released internationally on 5 October 2006. In the U.K., the first printing consisted of a standard run of approximately 30,000 copies, and a limited edition of 1,500 copies with a specially printed bookplate, individually numbered, and signed by the author. Five copies of a special edition, leather bound in a slipcase were also printed, one of each went to the author, Great Ormond St Hospital, Oxford University Press, HM The Queen and the last one was auctioned at the book launch. The book was released in Britain with a cover illustration and interior silhouettes by David Wyatt, and in the United States with a cover illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. The latter features interior silhouette illustrations by Scott M. Fischer. The book was also released in audio format in the U.K and U.S.

Plot summary

The novel sees the return of Wendy Darling, her brother John, and adopted brothers Nibs, Slightly, Tootles, the Twins and Curly, who were once Peter Pan's Lost Boys. At the end of Peter and Wendy, Wendy, John, and Michael had brought the Lost Boys home to London where Mr. and Mrs. Darling adopted them.

The novel opens with John Darling and his wife denying the vivid, realistic dreams about Neverland that John keeps having, which brings back different relics of his time in Neverland as a child: a cutlass, a pistol, et cetera. We discover that each of the former Lost Boys and Wendy have also been having similar dreams, and Wendy arrives at the conclusion that bombs from the Great War have punched holes through their world into Neverland and dreams and ideas are filtering through. Wendy tells the former Lost Boys, now known as Old Boys, that they must find a way of returning to Neverland to help Peter Pan return both worlds to normalcy.


* Peter Pan - Peter, the One-and-Only Child, has taken up a lonely residence in the abandoned Wendy House. At the return of the Darlings, he immediately proposes a quest. Finding the "Jolly Roger" and renaming it the "Jolly Peter", he discovers Hook's map of Neverland, showing treasure on top of mount Neverpeak. Peter faces many obstacles along the way, but uses his cleverness to outwit the enemy, until he is nearly turned into Captain Hook because he has donned the pirate's coat. Peter is nearly killed, but is saved by Dr. Curly. At the end of the novel, The Marvelous Boy is shadowless, and confined to the island because he has lost the ability to fly until his shadow grows back.

* Wendy Darling - at the start of the novel, the adult Wendy Darling announces they must return to Neverland. Wearing her daughter Jane's clothing, she returns to Neverland and her role as the Lost Boys' mother. Wendy is a stickler for good manners, and she is also very compassionate, feeling sorry and taking care of even the worst villains. Wendy is banished by Peter for saving the enemy, but she completely disregards her sentence.

* Ravello - Ravello is a travelling man, a circusmaster who set up tent on the island of Neverland. When the island is set on fire, he escapes with his animals to serve as valet to Peter. Ravello is very mysterious - he is clad in a ragged woolen coat, never sleeps, and eats only eggs. It is later revealed that he is none other than Captain Hook, who survived inside the crocodile's stomach, but was mutated by stomach acid into a soft, nothing of a man. Ravello is nearly killed by the Darling's dog which was saving Peter from him, but he survives as Hook, thanks to Wendy's good-night kiss.

* John Darling - John starts off the novel with the announcement "I won't go to bed". He is terrified by plaguing dreams of Neverland, but later consents to return to Neverland. John tries to be chivalrous throughout the novel, including opening the door for Wendy when she is banished. John's manner bears an allusive resemblance to his father George Darling, when John states "Can't a man be believed in his own house?"

* Tootles Darling - As an adult, Tootles is a portly Judge who loves his moustache and believes everything can be solved judicially. Tootles has only daughters, so in order to return to Neverland, he must dress like a girl. This is fine with the young female Tootles, who dreams of becoming a princess and a nurse; she would also love to marry Peter, and become Tootles Pan.

* Curly Darling - Curly is a whippety thin, sensible doctor when he decides to return to Neverland. When Peter's life is threatened, Curly agrees to become an adult, risking banishment to save Peter. Curly escapes banishment, leaving Neverland on raft. Dr. Curly takes along the family Puppy, Nana's great-great-great-grandpuppy, to Neverland and upon returning home is chastised by his children for "growing the puppy".

*Slightly Darling - Slightly Darling has become a baronet, but his wife has died and he is left childless. He is the only one to "go down to the bottom of the bed" as a way to become a child. Slightly has learned clarinet in his adulthood, and his playing saves the League from a particularly dangerous situation. Slightly begins to grow up while on the island, and is banished by Peter. Slightly's only companion in banishment is the loyal fairy Fireflyer. Slightly helps to save Peter from growing up. When Slightly returns to London, he remains eighteen, and makes a living playing clarinet in a dance band. In this sequel, Slightly seems to have lost his rather conceited personality, and is now portrayed as shy and gentle.

* First and Second Twin Darling - The grown-up Twins live next door to each other in London, each the father of twin boys. When they return to Neverland, they are only a few who escape banishment by Peter. It is revealed that First Twin and Second Twin are not their actual names, but Marmaduke and Binky.

* Nibs Darling- Nibs has grown up to work in an office. He completely intended to return to Neverland, but resigned at the thought of leaving his beloved children.

* Fireflyer - Fireflyer, a silly blue fairy, was born as the result of a baby's laugh in Kensington Garden. He is thoroughly devoted to Slightly, who admired the size of his lies. Fireflyer wishes for Tinker Bell to be alive, and ends up marrying her by the end of the novel.

* Tinker Bell - Tinker Bell, the fairy that Wendy and John meet in their first adventure to the Neverland, where she was friend of Peter Pan and of the Lost Boys returns as the result of Fireflyer's wishing to meet her and to know her. She ends up marrying him in the end of the novel, where both of them decide to sell dreams to pirates.

* Smee - Smee has returned for this novel, and is attributed to the post of both first mate and bo'sun. Smee has taken up residence in the underground den, and knows a great deal about Grief Reef and the Maze of Regrets. He leaves the island for London, where he sets up a shop selling souvenirs from Neverland.

* Starkey - First mate Starkey has taken control of a steamship, and has reared a group of young Indians for his crew. Starkey launches an unsuccessful attack on the "Jolly Peter", and his treasure of 7,284 onions was eaten by Fireflyer.


"Peter Pan in Scarlet" is centered around the idea of "clothes making the man". This theme first appears when the adult Darlings don their children's clothing in order to become children themselves (this is exaggerated in the case of Tootles, who puts on a dress and becomes a girl). Later, Peter Pan discovers Captain Hook's second-best coat, and decides to wear it; Peter then morphs into a form of Captain Hook, even growing long dark curls and inheriting his temper. Only when Peter removes the coat does he become himself again. Later, it is revealed that Ravello, who is clad in unravelling clothes, is really Hook. When Ravello again wears his second-best coat, he is hardened and returns to the form of Captain Hook.

Another theme that is stressed in the novel is "time passing where no time should have passed". In Neverland, the land of summertime, it has turned autumnal and scarlet. This is supposedly due to Hook's poison, but it is suggested in the afterword that it may be caused by the war tearing holes in the veil that separates the island from the real world. It is stated that for a few ticks, time has passed in Neverland and caused it to age. Ravello is also exposed to forbidden time when he is trapped inside the crocodile. He should be dead, but he is forced to live a stenching life in a "crocodile tomb", that causes him to decay into a living rag.

Further themes are mother-love, healing and growing up.


Generally, reviews have been positive and where they are critical they acknowledge the strength of McCaughrean's writing and vision.
* [ Newsnight Review 06/10/06]
* [,,1888592,00.html Guardian 7/10/2006]
* [ Independent on Sunday 8/06/2006]
* [,,1889966,00.html Observer 8/06/2006]


Unlike the original play, which took several years to be adapted into other media, Great Ormond Street Hospital was quick to arrange for "Peter Pan in Scarlet" to be adapted.


A radio adaptation of the book was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 shortly after its release, on 14 October 2006. It starred Robert Glenister as the Narrator, Daniel Mays as Peter Pan, Kate Maberly as Wendy, and Roger Allam as Ravello.

*Narrator - Robert Glenister
*Peter Pan - Daniel Mays
*Wendy - Kate Maberly
*Ravello - Roger Allam
*John - Tom George
*Tootles (female) - Robin Weaver
*Tootles (male) - Joseph Kloska
*Fireflyer - Peter Gunn
*Curly - Simon Scardifield
*Slightly - Steven Webb
*Twin 1 - Damian Lynch
*Twin 2 - Paul Richard Biggin
*Starkey/Smee/Roarer - Sam Dale
*Woman 1/Roarer - Rachel Atkins
*Tinker Bell - Emerald O'Hanrahan

Music composed by David Pickvance; producer/director Celia de Wolff.


A movie based on the book is being produced by a consortium of Headline Pictures, the UK Film Council, and BBC Films. [ BBC - Press Office - Peter Pan In Scarlet ] ] It is planned for release in 2009. [ Peter Pan in Scarlet (2009) ] ]

Continuity with "Peter and Wendy"

In the book it states that characters require a shadow to fly. However, in the original book when Peter's shadow is taken from him in the Darling home, he is able to fly away from the house to escape being caught, and later return to collect the shadow back.

The original novel contains an epilogue in which Peter meets the grown-up Wendy and takes her daughter Jane to Neverland. In the sequel this second meeting is never referred to; indeed, it is mentioned that Jane has never met Peter Pan and thinks of Neverland as "just a bedtime story". It can therefore be assumed that "Peter Pan in Scarlet" takes place before this epilogue.


* [ The official "Peter Pan in Scarlet" website]
* [ The website of author Geraldine McCaughrean]
* [ Great Ormond Street Hospital news of the book's October launch]

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