Neverland and Oz

I love May! Why? Because I’ve just found out that two famous children’s authors have their birthdays in this month, which allows me to indulge in some of my favourite stories. And, I’m sure they hold a place in your heart too. The two people in question are J.M. Barrie and L.Frank Baum – the authors of Peter Pan and The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but I’m sure you’ve already guessed that from the title of the blog. J.M. Barrie was born on 9th May, 1860 and L. Frank Baum on the 15th May, 1856. So, this is a great opportunity to introduce these wonderful stories to your kids.

These two classics have been made into films, audio books and there’s animated TV series’ too. So there’s no shortage of material for you to use in class. And the number of arts and crafts there are to choose from is staggering. Here’s a great little hand puppet project to get you started. And our felt remnants are perfect for the job.

Creating maps of Neverland is another fun craft idea. Here’s a great example – Neverland map – tea bags and tearing the edges of the paper are a great way to make it look old.

I know that the film The Wizard of Oz is a classic – one of the most viewed films of all time in fact. However, it differs significantly from the books. In the film Dorothy is depicted as a ‘damsel in distress’ who needs saving. But, she was originally written as the one doing the saving. And, the time she spent in Oz was real, not a dream!

If you want to listen to the original books here they are:

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz audiobook

Peter Pan audiobook

And, if you fancy a little sing-a-long (and we all know the benefits of singing for kids), here’s a video of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ along with the text and another with the ever-so-catchy ‘We’re off to see the Wizard’.

Now, what do you imagine when I say Peter Pan? I bet you see a handsome young lad with a cute green outfit, pixie boots, pointy ears and a shock of strawberry-blond hair trying to escape from his cap. I’m not surprised, as that’s the image Disney created. However, J.M. Barrie never described Peter in detail – leaving it to the imagination of the readers. In fact, according to Wikipedia, Barrie describes him as a ‘beautiful boy with a beautiful smile, clad in skeleton leaves and the juices that flow from trees” – whatever that means! So, you could get the kids to draw what they think he would look like – I’m sure that would be interesting given the vagueness of that description.

I hope you have great fun using these two classics as the basis of some super arts and crafts. Do send us some pictures for our gallery – we’d love to see them. And you can win yourself a £20 voucher to spend on our site.

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