What You Need to Know:|
• A teenage brother and sister become believers when they discover a gold box filled with stardust.
• There are many references to Peter Pan and Pearson and Barry’s The Starcatchers Series, so some knowledge of
these stories would be helpful, although not necessary.
• The kids lie to their parents and the police in order to continue on their adventure. They also reveal that they both
have gmail accounts that they've kept secret from their parents.
• The characters make use of many modern-day conveniences like ipads, gmail, craig’s list, facebook, googlemaps,
twitter and of course, Starbucks.
• The main characters are in their teens, but they could just as easily be tweens based on much of their behavior.
• There is some violence and fighting but it is very limited and the injuries are minimal.
In The Bridge to Neverland, brother and sister, Aidan and Sarah, discover that fictional literary characters and events actually exist in the real world. It’s a concept that most kids have probably imagined or hoped for, and readers are sure to find it very intriguing. In this case, 15 year-old Aidan and 17 year-old Sarah find a cryptic note in a concealed desk drawer. The name on the note, Magill, is familiar, and Sarah realizes that he is a character from the Starcatcher series. They somehow decipher the hidden message and figure out that the note is directing them to a street in London. Since they are, conveniently, soon to be spending some time in London on a family vacation, they (well, mostly Sarah) decide to pursue the mystery. The note leads them to a gold box with a warning to “Use it wisely, or leave it be. Use it wrong, and death to thee.” Sarah, playing the role of the bossy older sister, convinces Aidan that they should open it anyway. Like Pandora's box, opening this gold treasure releases magical "starstuff" but also unleashes an evil force called Ombra. Sarah doesn't want to give up the intoxicating "starstuff", which makes them feel good and enables them to fly, despite the fact that using it invokes the anger of this sinister creature that takes his form from hundreds of bone-chilling ravens. She refuses to tell their parents or the police and sneaks the box back to their home in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for Aidan and Sarah, the ravens come too - a lot of them.
The siblings decide they need to run away to save their parents from harm and to bring the "starstuff" to a safe place. They enlist the help of a young Princeton physics professor, J.D., who is also a “starcathcer”, and then cross into another dimension to bring the gold box to Peter Pan's Neverland. In the process, they lie to their parents, sneak out of their hotel, get a ride on a Harley, eat junk food, drink Red Bull, and elude the ever-bumbling police, FBI and private investigator. They also take enormous risks and put themselves and others in danger, although I'm not quite sure why since they use up all the "stardust" and Ombra is still after them, anyway. The siblings have a few nice moments but mostly their relationship is stereotypically confrontational. Sarah is an irresponsible and headstrong teenager who wants what she wants and, other than a few feeble apologies, seems to think nothing of the consequences. A good portion of the story takes place in Disney World, in what feels like a lengthy infomercial for the theme park. While the basic premise of this story offers a lot of potential, the initial mystery is engaging and there are exciting moments, the execution is somewhat of a disappointment. The ending is a clear set up for Book Two so Aidan and Sarah are sure to be back for another fight against evil.
Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
2011, 448 pages
Fantasy, Magic, Siblings
• Why is Sarah so determined to keep the gold box?
• Were Sarah and Aidan right to lie to their parents? What else could they have done?
• What other books have you read that you could imagine the stories being real?
• Would you rather have Peter or Sarah as your sibling? Why
• Do you believe in wormholes and alternate universes? Would you like to travel to one?
• Why did Sarah risk her life to save Peter?
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