Come away from the water, Shirley

John Burningham, author and illustrator

London: Jonathan Cape, 1977

22 pp

Age: 3 and up

Interests: pirates, seashore, boats, treasure

Also by this author: Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, Where’s Julius?, Avocado Baby, Borka

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Muppet Treasure Island (1996)


Rated: G
Length:  99 min.
Age: 4 and up.           Commonsense Media sez: 6 +

Scary Factor: usual pirate fight scenes, though no blood; pirate attack on tavern a little alarming (though interjected with funny business)

Also: human character dies at beginning of heart attack, after drinking excessively (no drunken muppets though)

Interests: pirates, ships, muppets, adventure

Next: The Muppet Show TV series, or movies: The Muppet Movie, The Muppet Christmas Carol, etc.
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Treasure Island (1950)


(Disney live-action)
Rated: PG (US & video rating in Canada)
Length:  96 min.
Age: 5 and up.                 Commonsense Media sez: 7 +

Scary Factor: lots of adventure, threatening situations too numerous to count; sword battles, shooting, mutiny; Jim fights a pirate and is wounded before he shoots the pirate in the face

Also: much drinking of rum (only by adults)

Interests: pirates, action, adventure, ships, islands, treasure, British history

Next: other pirate films Captain Blood, The Sea Hawk; books Treasure Island, Kidnapped, Robinson Crusoe

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Captain Blood (1935)


Black and White

Rated: TV-G (TV rating)

Length:  119 min.

Age: 6 and up (more for complex plot and slow pace at start)

Scary factor/Violence: slaves are beaten, and one is branded as punishment (not graphic – offscreen); many battle scenes, but generally bloodless; one big swordfight on beach, but not graphic or disturbing

Sex: scene in which pirates party in a brothel/bar is pretty harmless

Other Bad Behaviour: fair amount of boozing, especially among the naughtier French pirates

Interests: pirates, sailing ships, history, old movies

Next: Treasure Island, The Adventures of Robin Hood, The Sea Hawk
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Return to Never Land (2002)


Rated: G
Length:  72 min.
Age: 4 and up.                        commonsense media sez: 5+

Scary Factor: opening scenes of WWII blitz in London may be alarming; as in the first film, pirate shenanigans are more slapsticky than scary

Also: separation from father, Captain Hook smokes

Interests: magic, fairies, pirates

Next: MOVIES: Peter Pan (1953) of course, The Sword in the Stone (1963), The Little Mermaid (1989); BOOKS: Peter Pan, Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens

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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.