Recently I’ve been trying to listen to more audiobooks and decided to pick up from our local library “Peter Pan,” by J. M. Barrie and read by Jim Dale. From scouting information out online, Jim Dale is generally thought to be one of the top best audiobook narrators. And Peter Pan being a classic children’s story, I figured little ol’ conservative me would be safe from having to fast forward through parts! 🙂
This is my first audiobook review I’ve done on booklearned, so it will be a review first of the story, then of the performance by the narrator.
Story Review: I first read Peter Pan when I was 12 years old. And I hated it. I did not understand it, it felt like there was no plot, and it just seemed to be a lot of boring ramble. Fast forward to now, and I have to say that I was surprised by how much more I like it. Children’s stories have a way of meaning more to adults sometimes, I think. If I were reading the book for myself, I imagine I would have many quotes to scribble down for my quotebook, as there were tons of witty lines that spurred food for thought.
I found it interesting that Barrie used a lot of hypothetical musings over “what would have happened had circumstances been otherwise but they were not, so something else happened instead…” Unique storytelling like this gives children a bird’s eye view and lets them think about the consequences of actions.
One of the main themes recurring throughout the book is the respectful treatment of the fairer sex in the story. Wendy is a female through and through (and one might say the same of Tinkerbell), which always had me smiling! The ways in which the Lost Boys highly regarded their mothers, and how Peter and the other boys thought of Wendy as though females were on an elevated pedestal were curious to me. I suppose this is why I liked the story so much better this time around. Being older has its advantages in that you notice things like that.
Thoughts on the Narrator: It’s hard not to like Jim Dale’s reading! He has such a thoughtful, grandfatherly voice that makes one immediately feel comfortable in settling down for several hours with him. Probably one of the best things about his narrating is the wonderful character voices he creates for the pirates, particularly Captain Hook. Unfortunately, he is a little limited when it comes to the children’s voices and it makes it a little difficult to keep them straight from each other. But that’s to be expected and it really didn’t prohibit me from listening to the whole book. This is saying something because I don’t believe I’ve listened to a complete audiobook for years (something I’m obviously working on!).
I think I would much rather listen to Jim Dale’s reading of this classic story than read it for myself any day, so I would recommend this to anyone looking for a good children’s audio!