Peter and the Starcatchers

9780786849079_p0_v1_s260x420

As the prequel to James Barrie’s famous character, Peter and the Starcatchers explains how Peter Pan came to be.  After recently enjoying the Tony Award winning Broadway green show * of Peter and the Starcatchers,  I downloaded the play’s inspiration – the first book in the series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson to my Kindle, and followed the adventures of a young orphaned boy who became the mischievous flying scamp.

Barry and Pearson involve all the familiar characters – the lost boys, the mermaids, the pirates, the local natives, the crocodile – but no TIger Lily or Wendy.  The pirate captain Black Stache loses his hand and gets his hook, but the Starcatchers are the focus of this tale.

Molly and her father, members of a small group of elite world protectors, with the help of talking porpoises, are escorting a trunk full of magic stardust to prevent its falling into the hands of the bad guys. Peter and his fellow orphans from St. Norbert’s have been conscripted to sail to the island of a despot.  Their paths cross with a mad pirate chase through a wild storm that lands them on an isolated island in the middle of nowhere.

When the stardust leaks out of its trunk, its strange power causes rats to fly, fish to turn into mermaids, and mortal wounds to heal.  The adventure is wild and adventurous with constant excitement.  By the end, Peter’s has eternal youth and flight dexterity with a new home and a protector – Tinkerbell.

If you are looking for a different holiday story that will secure the attention of young and old – clap your hands and show you believe.

* The green refers to the proscenium, stage floor, sets, and props – all created out of recycled objects – bottle corks, buttons, plastic bottles, rope – and a little magic.

Lunatics

In a funny confrontation between two “wild and crazy guys,” Dave Barry and Alan Zweibel will have you thinking they are the Lunatics in their namesake novel. In spite of myself, I ended almost every chapter laughing out loud.

Taking turns being idiotic, each author alternates writing chapters as Philip, the happy owner of a pet store called “The Wine Shop,” and Jeffrey, a forensic plumber, angry at the world for getting in his way. Of course, their paths cross.  In a ridiculous sequence of random events that innocently starts with a soccer game, the two become embroiled in a series of mishaps that has them chased by the police, terrorists, bears, and pirates.  They almost destroy the world, and then put it back together in better shape than before their exploits.

The language can be crude and insensitive; think Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert. If you don’t like your laughs rough and bawdy, or if you are a Prius driver, this book may not be for you.   On the other hand, if you are thinking about taking one of those new cultural vacations to Cuba, you might want to read the book before you go.  Both authors get carried away, and the side bars – although funny – seem to run-on, but if you decide to skip through some of it, be sure to check out the Republican National Convention at the end (if you are a Republican, you may not be as amused).

Lunatics is quick silly diversion; I wondered which author wrote each character (in an NPR interview, Dave Barry admits to being the forensic plumber), but I knew they must have had fun writing their plotless wonder together.