Daisy and her grandmother are in the overgrown garden of a dilapidated house. Granny says the garden was different in her grandmother’s time, as she knows from the stories Grandmother Maggie used to tell her. Maggie was the kitchen maid and she would describe how the two boys who lived in the house, together with their friend Jamie, would play for hours in the garden. They would always pretend to be pirates – they’d fight other pirates and Indians, be taken to crocodile infested waters, get wrecked on desert islands, live in caves and collect coconuts. Jamie loved making up stories so much that it turns out he never stopped: many years later, as J M Barrie, he wrote Peter Pan and became one of Britain’s best known authors.
After a somewhat convoluted start, it was interesting to see what provided the inspiration for Peter Pan. Imaginative play clearly had a powerful, long-lasting effect on J M Barrie, and the rather charming, old-fashioned illustrations show that as she listens to Granny, Daisy is immersing herself in the boys’ games too. At the end of the book we’re told that the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust has now taken over the house and garden in Dumfries, and is in the process of restoring both of them. This book would be particularly interesting to young visitors there.