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The Little White Bird
J.M. Barrie
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The Little White Bird (Peter Pan #2)

3.92  ·  Rating Details  ·  621 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
The first appearance of Peter Pan who is to be found wandering London's Kensington Gardens at night.
Kindle Edition
Published (first published 1902)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,535)
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Nov 16, 2014 Andrada rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I decided to read The Little White Bird because I happen to currently live near Kensington Gardens and regularly walk around them. On one of these occasions, I came across the famous statue of Peter Pan that was erected on the place Peter initially lands near the Long Water Lake in the Little White Bird and I thought that if there ever was a time to read the adventures of Peter Pan as originally written by J.M. Barrie, it would be now!

Now, the few chapters of The Little White Bird that cover Pet
Jun 09, 2013 Hannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"The Little White Bird" was a charming, mystifying novel full of pretty ideas and bittersweet reflections. Its mainly about a lonely old bachelor. It coincidentally contains the first passges Barrie ever wrote about Peter Pan.

"Life and death, the child and the mother, are ever meeting as the one draws into harbour and the other sets sail. They exchange a bright "All's Well" and pass on."

"so he made a pipe of reeds, and he used to sit by the shore of the island in the evening, practising the so
Jim Brule
Dec 30, 2010 Jim Brule rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 31, 2008 Banaticus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
[[This book is also the origin of the Peter Pan mythos, although that story is rather a diversion from the main story, just as The Three Musketeers was a diversion from Dumas' main story.]]

A fun little book, most enjoyable. It has ever and anon been my practice, when a book has been finished, to find myself wondering whether or not I could find the means within myself to write in such a style as to, if not basely cadge from, to at least imitate the tone and manner of the book. Such is this parag
Brian Schiebout
Jun 28, 2013 Brian Schiebout rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Little White Bird by James Barrie is a fanciful story about childhood. The main character is an older man who in a way represents Barrie himself and his relationship with another family. The story begins with him talking to a young boy named David who happens to be the other main character in the story. The tale begins with the man explaining how he helped the boys parents to get together because of his fascination with David's mother Mary. While the story includes much that is unfamiliar to ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 25, 2007 V. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who count themselves not amongst the faint of heart.
Shelves: fiction
J. M. Barrie, of course, is the author of Peter and Wendy, the book upon which is based many incarnations of the "Peter Pan" tale. What is curious to learn, however, is that Peter Pan made his first appearance in The Little White Bird, as the hero of a tale spun for a small boy by the older gentleman--the novel's narrator--who is obsessed with him. The Little White Bird is quirky, disturbing, and full of curmudgeonly wit.

Especially with the novel's themes of obsession and pederasty, White Bird i
Louise Dickens
Jul 10, 2016 Louise Dickens rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This book was a gift from my boyfriend, who, knowing how much I love the story of Peter Pan, discovered that The Little White Bird held the very first mention of the character.

Originally published in 1902, The Little White Bird is the story of an old bachelor, Captain W, in Victorian London, and a young boy called David who is born to a middle-class family in the same area.

As Captain W lunches at his members’ club, he watches each day as a young nurse meets with her lover at the post office, and
Andy Lamen
Dec 20, 2015 Andy Lamen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

JM Barrie is a fascinating author.with his ability to make you feel like a child as well as to interact with the story is remarkable
Heidi Schulz
This may be my all time favorite book. I particularly love the descriptions of David's mother.
Jake Leech
For starters, this is a J. M. Barrie book, which means that, like any J. M. Barrie book, the writing style is polarizing. Some readers will find him utterly, utterly charming, and others will find him cloying and twee. I can't predict which reader you will be, but I happen to like the way Mr. Barrie writes. Additionally, I was interesting in this specific Barrie book because it is the first mention of Peter Pan. However, he loses two stars for two reasons--one star for each reason.

First of all,
Ebster Davis
Mar 13, 2014 Ebster Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
'"In twenty years," I said, smiling
at her tears, "a man grows humble, Mary. I have stored within me a great
fund of affection, with nobody to give it to"'

This is a story about a seemingly persnikity guy with a big heart.

The first part of this story was captivating, but probably not for the reasons it was intended to be. I kept thinking. "if this happened in modern day, this guy would be arrested and everyone would think he's a pervert." Then they give his backstory and his motivations are a bit m
Rating: PG

A friend recommended Peter Pan to me a while ago, but I haven't read it yet. I checked out the author's history on wikipedia (which, yes, I know I'm not supposed to trust completely) and found out Peter Pan was first introduced in this book. So I thought, "Ok, I'll read this book first, then the book recommended to me." And so I did. You're welcome for that tidbit that I'm sure you wanted to know…

Basically, this book was not what you'd expect it to be. The humor, the characters, the (n
Feb 03, 2013 Keshia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this story more than any others is a reflection of Barrie himself and the relationship he had with the Davies. It is a simple story, and not very full of plot. But I found in the end I was overwhelmed by how beautiful it was. Everyday occurrences, things happening all the time in the Kensington Gardens became magical and mysterious worlds of unknown. The world became a wonderful place in this book. It is the perfect way for anyone to escape.

(*Spoilers*) Kind of...
This story was about a m
Joey Brockert

I picked up this book because I had read “Peter Pan,” the play, was perpetually licensed to aa hospital in London, but this, being the source of the play, was not.
It is a very strange story. It starts out with a fellow doting on his son but refusing to go to the boy's mother's birthday party. The fellow admits he has never spoken to the mother and has no intention to do so. She is not his type - too young, he finds mature women of fifty plus much more interesting. I will not explain more as it
James Barrie has created Peter Pan here, along with the other fairies who inhabit Kensington Gardens. He's created a narrator who's curmudgeonly and endearing...insufferable and loving. This lonely old bachelor watches a small family from afar, from the romantic meetings of the as-yet unmarried couple, to the births of their children. He takes an interest in the older son and tries to wrest his affections away from the mother. Along the way David, the son, Mary, the mother, and the unnamed narra ...more
Lanette Errante
Dec 02, 2014 Lanette Errante rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
a very different story

no one writes like this. Barrie has an odd and fascinating imagination. he pits the writer of the story with a child. while seemingly in competition and resentment with the child and his mother, he holds an affection for them that borders on the characteristics of stalking - something that would barely pass in present day society. yet, there is endearment seldom seen with a full grown man and a young child who are not related. in this book, and the reason I read it, Peter p
Mar 31, 2016 Misanthropist rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Such a beautiful book and such a... peculiar ending! It made me cry, even though it wasn't what you'd immediately call "sad", but it touched some sensitive fiber inside me. :_)

It was a great read that made me laugh, kept me entertained and made me think of a lot of things.

Once I've written the full review in my blog, I'll add a link to it here too. For now... I'm done! And I'm kinda sad and kinda happy at the same time. :_)

Full review in Spanish in my blog:
Sep 14, 2015 Brooke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the book, far more than Peter Pan, that really shows the depth and complexity of JM Barrie's writing style. I can't think of another writer who can so cleverly and seamlessly meld humor and poignancy in so few words. How his narrator, a middle-aged curmudgeon, can make the reader understand the many emotions a mother goes through from pregnancy to watching her son grow up to the designated (at the time) school age of 8 while also conveying the deeply buried sadness of his own for never h ...more
Jami Leigh
Plot: 3 stars
Characters: 3 stars
Style: 3 stars
Pace: 3 stars

Yes, I know. 12 days into the year and I'm just now finishing one book. My internship has taken up a great deal of my reading time, and because it's slush right now, I'm hardly reading through the whole novel. Be that as it may, as part of my crit partner duties, I'm snagging some of my reading time to read a few classics for As Yet Undisclosed Reasons. This is one of them. If you see other classics from around the same time period,
This book seemed all over the place. I'd say most of the time I enjoyed the story but sometimes the language lost me a little bit and also the chapters jumped from theme to theme in my opinion.
Black Elephants
Mostly through The Little White Bird by J.M. Barrie which I found is where the true origins of Peter Pan begin. And woah, what a strange, morbidly twisted but innocently demure text. It's about an old bachelor who takes an interest in a young woman who weds and has a child and how to avenge himself, or at least make Mary feel really bad, to break the child, Davy's faith in her. I'm only half way through, Peter Pan stories haven't popped up, but the lines of class, society, age are so normal that ...more
Kristina Wojtaszek
As the official prequel to Peter Pan by the original author, it's a must read! The first story of Pan, beginning at age one week, is tucked within the overarching tale of an old bachelor who grudgingly saves a romance and befriends the resulting child. The child is the first to partake of the imaginary world of Pan, and is based on a boy who, along with his brothers, truly inspired Barrie in his vast imaginings. The tail is humorous, heart wrenching, candid and deliciously creative. The later st ...more
Jamey Popham
If you’re a fan of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, you’ll love his novel The Little White Bird. This novel tells of a man who befriends a little boy in London’s Kensington Garden. Just as Barrie’s Peter Pan was, The Little White Bird is whimsical, yet dark, comedic, yet aggressive, and all things in-between. A review in The Times said of the book “The peculiar quality of The Little White Bird…is its J.M. Barrie-ness…whimsical, sentimental, profound, ridiculous Barrie-ness… Mr. Barrie has given us the b ...more
Jason Mcninch
Nov 11, 2013 Jason Mcninch rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
If my childhood was a tiny brown puppy, this is the boot that stepped on it. The reality of this book was just too painful. Peter Pan is an immortal character in every sense of the phrase, but his attachment to the author and his horrifically tragic story was simply too hard to swallow. I felt like it was J.M. Barrie's psychological struggle with not only the loss of his brother, but also the eternal failure to win his mother's love written out in the story of his main character, as well as in t ...more
Gloria Russell
Jan 04, 2014 Gloria Russell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature, fiction
I really loved this book. I read it out of curiosity since it was included in the volume I had just read Peter Pan in and it is the origin of that character. I wasn't going to write a review, but the top review I saw bothered me since he obviously didn't finish/understand the book. The man telling the story is an old bachelor without children who befriends a little boy. Their relationship is special but sad because he is not really his son...soon the boy will grow up and forget him. Just read it ...more
Oct 13, 2014 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Sarah Demster
Now I remember why I love J.M. Barrie. :)

Fine, I'll expound. I love the author's writing style; he always writes such charming, funny stories. Fairies, perambulators, umbrellas, babies, make-believe, added to wit from a singularly crabby and thoughtful old man make this an excellent read.

I'm afraid I can't pin exactly what makes this story so attractive, but there is always something playful happening and some witty thought is likely to spring from it. Will read more of Mr. Barrie soon!
Jan 06, 2015 Ceejay rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an enjoyable read by J.M. Barrie. I did, however, find the writing style very dated. The most notable thing about this book is the fact that Mr. Barrie introduces us to Peter Pan several years before the play was produced. In fact, the chapters that centered on the Peter Pan story seemed out of place with the rest of the novel. If you're intereted in an early take on Peter Pan, I do suggest you give this a try. If not, I think you'll find this to be an interesting but dated read.
Dec 28, 2013 Liz rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult-fiction
My only introduction to the character had been the Disney movie in my childhood. I heard that the first mention of that character was in this book. While it was fun to discover Peter Pan's beginning, I did not fall in love with this book. It was at times charming, at times beautiful, boring, odd. Not a page turner for me, but I was curious enough about the fairies and such and Peter's experiences that I read on. Lovely, neat ending which helped explain the whole rest of the story.
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Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM (9 May 1860 – 19 June 1937) was a Scottish author and dramatist, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan.

The child of a family of small-town weavers, he was educated in Scotland. He moved to London, where he developed a career as a novelist and playwright. There he met the Llewelyn Davies boys who inspired him in writing about a baby boy who has
More about J.M. Barrie...

Other Books in the Series

Peter Pan (3 books)
  • Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens
  • Peter Pan

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“The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply because they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.” 1536 likes
“Life and death, the child and the mother, are ever meeting as the one draws into harbour and the other sets sail. They exchange a bright "All's well" and pass on.” 3 likes
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