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Today we look at Neverland, as depicted by Disney for the 1953 film adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan.  This is the best official map I could find, and apparently it was a limited edition item; it could only be obtained by mailing in three soap wrappers (Colgate-Palmolive’s “Peter Pan Beauty Bar with Chlorophyll”) and 15 cents.

Map of Neverland, by Walt Disney Productions, copyright 1953.

Neverland is a fantastically intriguing place for any child or adult who longs for the carefree days of youth.  It’s a small island in an ambiguous part of the ocean, and you can only find it by flying, picking the second star to the right and going straight on til morning, whatever that means.  In Neverland, a child’s imagination becomes reality, with pirates and fairies and mermaids galore.  Neverland is warm and tropical, but it symbolizes a world of danger and adventure more than leisure.  The kid in us is intoxicated by Neverland; the adult in us would probably prefer Tahiti.

The map above effectively conveys the sense of mystery and escapism of Neverland, enticing the reader to live vicariously through Peter Pan and the Lost Boys.  The panels around the border of the map also detail the main plot points of the movie, so the reader can keep them in mind when surveying the relevant locations on the island.  I think the map has the general feel of an old treasure map, with the antique typeface of the text and the stylistic touches such as pirate ships off the coast.

However, I also have a few criticisms of this map.  The highly stylized text, and overuse of shading in some areas, makes it hard to actually read some of the names of locations.  Additionally, it does not seem that the scenes depicted around the border of the map match the numbers written on the map. While I do see the numbers 1-12 randomly floating out in the ocean, it is not clear whether they actually correspond to anything.  If the mapmaker had coordinated this better, it could have made the Peter Pan fan very happy to be able to trace the major events of the film on the map by following the numbers.  Last, but not least, there is an actual point on the map labeled “Peter’s Secret Hideout.”  Well, it was secret.

Generally, though, it is a pretty good map which succeeds in depicting Neverland relatively accurately while awakening the imaginations of the reader.  Now if only we could get a higher resolution version without having to send in three soap wrappers.

That’s all for today!  Happy Mapping, and please follow me on Twitter @PetrosJordan.

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