Genre: Fairy Tale
Author(s): Jodi Lynn Anderson
Release Date: 07/03/2012
Reading Level: 14-17
Other Choices: Hook, Ever After, The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom
Synopsis: Dark retelling of Peter Pan tale focuses on Indian girl.
Common Sense Rates It:
Parents need to know
Parents need to know that Tiger Lily is a dark and mature retelling of the Peter Pan fairy tale kids may know from the Disney animated movie version or the classic children's play and novel by J.M. Barrie. The major players -- Peter Pan, Tiger Lily, Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, Smee, and Wendy are all here, but so are adult themes, violence, murder, and romance with kissing. At the beginning, narrator Tinkerbell explains the novel best: "This is a love story, but not like any you've heard. The boy and girl are far from innocent. Dear lives are lost. And good doesn't always win."
- Families can talk about the differences between Tiger Lily, the classic versions of Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie, and the Disney cartoon version.
- Why do spme kids not want to grow up, and why do some adults fear aging?
- A lot happens between Tiger Lily and Peter Pan, particularly jealousy. What do you think of their relationship? Do they both make the right choice in the end?
What's the story?
TIGER LILY centers on the Indian girl from Peter Pan, a teen member of the Sky Eaters tribe on the wild and mythical island of Neverland. She lives with her father, Tik Tok, the village shaman, who also happens to be a cross-dresser. The story is told from the point-of-view of Tinkerbell, a fairy who stays by Tiger Lily's side through thick and thin. The Sky Eaters have always heard rumors about the mysterious Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, who inhabit the island but are never seen ... until one day, when Tiger Lily comes face to face with them. They all become fast friends, and Tiger Lily and Peter Pan fall in love. But their romance remains secret, because Tiger Lily fears what the villagers will think of her, especially when she is promised in marriage to another. Danger lurks in the form of the evil Captain Hook, his trusty mate Smee, as well as an Englander who has escaped their wrath and tries to impose his religious beliefs on the Sky Eaters.
Is it any good?
Tiger Lily is an interesting and different spin on a well-known story. It's adventurous and suspenseful, and the first half of the book moves very quickly. But after that it slows down and becomes somewhat boring and depressing. Still, many of the core ideas from Peter Pan remain -- the desire to never grow up, the hope for a better life, the power of love, friendship and family, and the message that everyone should be treated equally and with respect.
The Good Stuff
Messages: The value of independence, standing up for yourself and others, being one with nature, and respecting others' religious beliefs, are themes and issues discussed throughout the novel. Tiger Lily, Peter Pan, and the Lost Boys want to be independent, to think for themselves, and not have adults tell them what to do, which stays true to the original Peter Pan story, but doesn't always work out for the best.
Educational Value: This newly imagined telling of the Peter Pan story may lead readers back to the original source: the J.M. Barrie novel.
Role Models: Tiger Lily stands up for her friend Pine Sap when he is belittled and beaten by his mother. She is a fierce yet guarded heroine who wants to be brave and respectful, but is affected by feelings of love, fear, loneliness, and desperation. Tinkerbell, the narrator, always tries to warn people of danger and helps those in need. Pine Sap wants what's best for Tiger Lily, even if it means compromising his own life. Tiger Lily and many of the characters don't always do the right thing when it comes to the heart and mind. Tik Tok, who is Tiger Lily's surrogate father, doles out solid advice to her about life, her behavior and trusting others.
What to watch out for
Violence There is death and violence in Tiger Lily's village and outside in the forest of Neverland. Captain Hook and Smee are cold-blooded murderers. Smee often says he would like to strangle Tiger Lily. Captain Hook wants to get rid of Peter Pan for good. Kidnapping is mentioned, attempted murder and murder is committed by two of the main characters. One villager is burned to death and another commits suicide. It's indicated that one of the young female villagers was raped. One of the characters discusses poisoning another character. Animals are killed for food, clothing, tools, and the home.
Sex: Peter Pan and Tiger Lily kiss, but that's as far as it goes. Tiger Lily and Pine Sap skinny dip. Adultery is mentioned.
Language: Pine Sap is called an idiot and a mistake by his mother.
Consumerism: Not an issue
Drinking, drugs & smoking: Captain Hook and the pirates, who are adults, drink alcohol. Peter Pan and the Lost Boys drink some sort of alcohol. It's offered to Tiger Lily, but she refuses. Tik Tok smokes a pipe, so does Tiger Lily.