Peter Pan

Which book begins with the sentence, "All children, except one, grow up"?

And the answer: Peter Pan.

Photo courtesy: public domain. 

Originally published under the name Peter and Wendy, Peter Pan is a 1911 novel by Scottish author and playwright J. M. Barrie. A free-spirited and mischievous young boy who can fly and never grows up, Peter Pan spends his never-ending childhood having adventures on the mythical island of Neverland.

Peter Pan grew, as most great legacies do, out of stories the author told to children. Barrie's close friend Sylvia Llewelyn Davies was mother to five sons with which Barrie forged a close relationship. After Davies' death to cancer, Barrie unofficially adopted the boys, and it was during this time that he began to craft the fantastical world of Peter's Neverland. What's more, it is believed that the character for Peter Pan was based off the premature death of Barrie's older brother – he and his mother continued to think of the boy as young forever.

The story of Peter Pan begins with the title character swooping down onto sidekick Wendy Darling's window. As a young mischievous boy with the power to fly, Peter Pan sweeps Wendy into his world and takes her to the promised Neverland. It is there that the pair encounters friends and foes alike, ranging from the loyal Tinker Bell to the antagonistic Captain Hook.

As a narrative underscoring the innocence of childhood and the desire to hold it tight, Peter Pan quickly became a classic across the world. The story and its characters have been used as the basis for a number of motion pictures (live action and animated), stage musicals, television programs, a ballet, and other media and merchandise.

To get a taste of the magic, check out the trailer for the 1953 Disney adaptation below.

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