The Sweet Adventures of Baby Peter Pan - A Review by Tinkerbell III
"Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens" is J.M. Barrie's original Pan prequel, and no matter how many more come along, this is Peter's only official backstory. Peter Pan (who is a much sweeter character in this book) is not limited in his play, even though he is only seven days old! His adventures begin when he runs away from home and finds himself in the middle of London's Kensington Gardens. There he meets Solomon Caw, a wise old crow, who reminds Peter that he was once a bird and teaches him of the bird ways. Oddly enough, Peter cannot fly in this book, even with his bird ancestry, so he navigates the Gardens by boat on the Serpentine River. Eventually, the fairies bestow him with the temporary gift of flight, and baby Peter flies home for the doomed meeting with his mother.
The fact that these chapters were originally published in a different novel causes this book to lack a solid plot. It is just several individual chapters about Peter's adventures. There are many sequences that have nothing to do with Peter at all - the whole first chapter is a helpful tour of Kensington Gardens, and there are several interesting segments explaining the ways of the fairies. Chapter 5 is all about Maimie Mannering, the little girl Peter meets in the Gardens. There are also a few parts that intersect with the future "Peter Pan" - Peter's explanation of the birth of fairies, for instance, the visit with his mother, and his misunderstanding of kisses. As for the illustrations, they are by Arthur Rackham and would be beautiful, but in my particular edition they have been printed so dark they are almost impossible to see. I think "Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens" is a great read for Peter Pan fans, and an absolutely excellent bedtime story for children.
By the way, I also recommend "The Little White Bird" in which these chapters were first published. It was witty and sarcastic and touching.
P.S. Check out the other Peter Pan-related reviews by Tinkerbell III!