Review: Saving Neverland

Saving Neverland is the most magical, mesmerising story that swept me wholeheartedly into its icy world adventure with unforgettable characters, incredible feats of peril and delight and heart-warming bonds of family and friendship.  In fact, this was so good that I have already read it twice, and cannot wait to share it with my class. 

Martha Pennydrop has moved to a townhouse at Number 14 Darlington Road with her father and younger brother, Scruff.  Martha is adamant that it is about time she grows up:  after all, she is ten years old!  Silly things like believing in magic, imaginative games and hugging must stop, but Martha is about to discover that magic is real as a boy and a fairy fly through the window-that-never-shuts …

Peter Pan and Muddle have flown from Neverland to ask for her help to save their home which is in the icy clutches of a curse laid upon it by Peter’s arch-enemy, Captain Hook.  Should Captain Hook and his pirates successfully fulfil the curse and return to Neverland, its magic will disappear forever and the joys of childhood will vanish from the Mainland. 

Whilst Martha is reluctant to leave her home, Scruff has no such qualms and, with a sprinkling of fairy dust, flies out of the window with his teddy None-the-Wiser.  Martha finds the courage to follow and it is not long before they arrive in Neverland only for Scruff to be kidnapped …

And so begins the MOST captivating, unputdownable adventure fizzing with excitement, peril and imaginative delights that kept me turning page after page with awestruck relish. Will Martha find the magic, belief and courage hidden within to save both her brother and Neverland before time runs out?  Will she find her way back to her childhood where imaginative play, curiosity and hugs are the order of the day? 

This is a re-imagining of Peter Pan but with none of the problematic associations with the original.  Anyone who has read any of Abi’s stories (and, if you haven’t, you really, really must) will know about the exquisite and immersive world-building, the inclusive and heartfelt messages and the playfulness and genius of the names!  And this is no exception!  Icy landscapes with mermaid lagoons and giant mountains, prowled by frostbears and snowtigers with magical trees and Gulping Mirrors not to mention a woolly mammoth called Armageddon (seriously gorgeous and loyal!). 

The full-page illustrations in this stunning hardback edition are absolutely beautiful, each having a quote from the story, complementing it perfectly.

Saving Neverland epitomises everything I love in children’s books – in any books!  It reaches out and wraps me in a comforting hug whilst taking me on incredible adventures where imagination knows no bounds, where fears are faced with courage, where strong bonds of friendship are built and where empathy and the most gorgeous uplifting messages of hope, kindness and wonder live at its heart. 

This is a truly unforgettable adventure that captured my imagination and heart and is one that I know I will be returning to again and again.  An absolutely magical, unmissable and snugglesome story for adventurers of 8 to 80+.

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