The Kingdom Under the Sea

GREENAWAY MEDAL WINNER – 1971

The Kingdom Under the Sea

written by Joan Aiken

illustrated by Jan Pienkowski

Jonathan Cape, 1971

104 pp. – 11 stories

Age: 5 +

Interests: fairy tales, folktales, Eastern European folklore, magic, princesses, princes, mermaids

Also by this illustrator: Haunted House, Meg and Mog series

Also by this author: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase series

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The Selkie Girl

The Selkie Girl

retold by Susan Cooper

illustrated by Warwick Hutton

New York: Macmillan, 1986

30 pp.

Age: 4+

Interests: ocean, magic, Celtic, selkies, folklore, mermaids
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Peter Pan (2003)

Rated: PG – frightening scenes, violence
Length: 113 min.
Age: 8 and up.                       commonsense media sez:  9+

Scary Factor: violence and killing among the pirates, though no show of blood and gore; the mermaids are truly creepy, and Hook is genuinely threatening

Intense scenes: Wendy is shot down and believed briefly to be dead, Tinker Bell drinks poison and nearly dies, Peter is bashed around by Hook during final fight

Sexuality: only some sexual tension between Peter and Wendy, limited to a couple kisses; there is a glimpse of bare Lost Boy behinds at one point

Also: a brief sight of Hook’s amputated arm may bother the squeamish (though the wound is old: no blood); as always, the pirates smoke and drink, and liquor and cigars are offered to Wendy (she turns them down)

Interests: fairies, pirates, magic, mermaids

Next: read the original novel Peter Pan, see the grittier pirate movies (Pirates of the Caribbean are for the 12+ crowd)

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Peter Pan (1953)


Rated: G
Length:  76 min.
Age: 4 and up.        commonsense media sez:  5+

Scary Factor: Nothing too bad at all – everything handled with great humour, especially Hook and pursuing crocodile.

Cringe Factor: “What Makes the Red Man Red” song, and stereotypical depiction of ‘redskins’; also not very enlightened re. female role models

Violence: much ‘play’ violence, violent language on part of kids, bloodless swordfights, at some point in past Peter cut off Hook’s hand, but this is not seen

Interests: fairies, pirates, magic, mermaids

Next: see it on the stage! (an excellent first play), read the book, older children (8+) could watch the 2003 live action Peter Pan

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All writings posted here are © Kim Thompson, unless otherwise indicated. For all artwork on this site, copyright is retained by the artist.