Children can learn to identify Peter Pan characters by their personalities and roles in the story. In fact, some children may even identify with certain characters who share the same temperament as they do or who they find interesting.
About Peter Pan
Peter Pan is a famous fairy tale that was originally written by J.M. Barrie. The tale is one of a young boy named Peter Pan, who lives in a place called Neverland with a group of other young boys called The Lost Boys. These boys do not want to grow up and look to Peter as their leader. In Neverland, they are friends with fairies and Indians, who all band together to fight the evil Captain Hook, who commands a ship of pirates. Captain Hook got his name because he lost one of his hands to a crocodile due to Peter Pan, and a hook replaced it.
Main Peter Pan Characters
The main storybook characters in Peter Pan include both the children who go on the magical adventure with Peter and the friends and enemies in Neverland.
Real World Characters
The way the reader finds out about Peter Pan and Neverland is because of the storyline that begins in the real world. The reader follows these real-world characters into the fantasy world of Neverland. Characters from the real world include:
- Wendy Darling, the eldest child in the Darling family, helps Peter capture his shadow. She and Peter are usually depicted as the same age and as good friends.
- John Darling, Wendy's younger brother, who joins her in the trip to Neverland.
- Michael Darling, the youngest of the three siblings who go on the adventure to Neverland.
- George and Mary Darling are the parents of the three children.
- Nana is the large dog who serves as the nanny to all three children. Although in a fantasy story, Nana is not given the ability to talk.
Characters from Neverland include:
- Peter Pan is the title character in the Peter Pan stories. He is a fearless leader of the boys who live in Neverland and helps protect everyone from Captain Hook.
- The Lost Boys are the group of boys who Peter protects and leads in Neverland. They are young, boisterous and fun-loving children who never want to grow up.
- Tinker Bell is the small fairy who has affections for Peter and accompanies him on his adventures.
- Princess Tiger Lily is a young Indian princess who is captured by Captain Hook and rescued by Peter Pan and Wendy. She and the rest of the Indians are friends of Peter and The Lost Boys.
Captain Hook is the villain in the Peter Pan stories. He leads a band of pirates from his ship in Neverland, always wanting to hurt Peter and his friends. Peter cut off his hand and gave to a crocodile, an animal that causes Hook to quake in fear whenever it is around.
Minor characters have a place in the Peter Pan stories, such as Smee, Captain Hook's assistant. Various retellings and alternate versions of the Peter Pan story also may introduce new characters. For example, the movie Hook portrays Peter Pan as an adult named Peter Banning, married to Wendy's granddaughter, with children of his own.
After reading Peter Pan, ask children the questions about the characters to further their reading comprehension. Ask children to put themselves in various roles and perform the play in small groups. Finally, consider using Peter Pan characters as writing prompts for children, asking them to write a story about a character other than Peter.
More Peter Pan Stories and Characters
Several websites have Peter Pan stories to read online. Read or download The Adventures of Peter Pan at Literature.org or read Peter Pan at Progject Gutenberg, making sure to follow the copyright restrictions that limit downloads to the United States. More about author J.M. Barrie can be found at Jmbarrie.co.uk or at ANON: the J.M. Barrie Society. Read about the Disney movie Peter Pan at LoveToKnow Movies.