Books with this theme--ideas?
November 1, 2010 8:08 AM   Subscribe

Need help thinking of children's books, especially classics, that are about kids who don't grow up or don't want to grow up, *besides* peter pan? Alternately, can you think of books published for adults that contain those themes (even if only slightly or vaguely)?
posted by whatgorilla to Media & Arts (21 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Tuck Everlasting
posted by polexa at 8:09 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

It's a theme in The Changeling, by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
posted by JanetLand at 8:15 AM on November 1, 2010

It's a common theme in vampire stories, such as Interview With The Vampire and Let The Right One In.
posted by nowonmai at 8:18 AM on November 1, 2010

Not a kid's book by any stretch of the imagination, but The Tin Drum is about a child who stops growing.
posted by Sticherbeast at 8:20 AM on November 1, 2010

If you haven't read The Little Prince (my favorite book) is basically about a pilot who meets a boy and through him, discovers how "lame" adults are... and how they forget what's important in life.
posted by KogeLiz at 8:20 AM on November 1, 2010 [3 favorites]

The last chapter of The House at Pooh Corner. Gets me every time.
posted by tamagogirl at 8:29 AM on November 1, 2010 [1 favorite]

Alice in Wonderland, themes of *having* to grow up, dealing with being big and being small.
posted by unlapsing at 8:51 AM on November 1, 2010

Book for teens/adults (and one of my favourites) - About a Boy by Nick Hornby. This was also an excellent movie, starring Hugh Grant.
posted by purlgurly at 9:02 AM on November 1, 2010

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn?
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:03 AM on November 1, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks, yeah, I LOVE LOVE LOVE "The Little Prince" (and give it to a lot of my students to read--one even got a terrifying tattoo of a boa constrictor that evidently ate an elephant).
I can think of tons of movies about people doing life over, but was having trouble thinking of books where kids never grow up...or resist growing up.
posted by whatgorilla at 9:05 AM on November 1, 2010

There's a little bit of this in the early Anne of Green Gables books - Anne is really not keen on the idea of growing up, and having things change (especially developing a romantic attachment to Gilbert). Also Ghost World?
posted by purlgurly at 9:09 AM on November 1, 2010

Clive Barker's The Thief of Always involves a fairy-tale house where kids get to celebrate all the good holidays every day and never grow old. It's not really a kids' book per se, though - it's pretty unsettling.
posted by restless_nomad at 9:10 AM on November 1, 2010

I interpreted the book Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatly Snider as a book about not wanting to grow up. The boy has fun with a potion that makes him have wings and he can fly and then (spoiler) he realizes at the end that all the fun he had made his shoulders develop (like an adult man's).

Oh whoa, just noticed another Zilpha Keatley Snyder book upthread.
posted by cda at 9:12 AM on November 1, 2010

"Jeffty is Five."
posted by Iridic at 9:26 AM on November 1, 2010

I have always liked the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, although not exactly about not growing up, more like just being really immature.
posted by chocolatetiara at 9:37 AM on November 1, 2010 [2 favorites]

I seem to recall The Thief of Always as having been explicitly marketed as a kids' book - I certainly read it as a kid - although it is pretty queasy and disturbing. Terrific book either way, though.
posted by Sticherbeast at 9:42 AM on November 1, 2010

At the end of the third Pippi Longstocking book, Pippi in the South Seas, the characters eat special pills (while saying a rhyme in darkness), supposedly to prevent them from ever growing up.
posted by martinrebas at 10:42 AM on November 1, 2010

Yesyesyes The Changeling
posted by radioamy at 11:37 AM on November 1, 2010

Start the clock by Benjamin Rosenbaum.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 1:36 PM on November 1, 2010

Years ago I read an SF story about someone who met an apparently ~9 year old girl who was actually over a thousand years old. She would take a herbal potion [that I think was light sensitive - it had to be prepared at night] to keep herself in this state. Originally there were a number of them, but the others had tried to edge their apparent age up, and once you hit puberty aging couldn't be stopped.

That's all I can remember I'm afraid.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 6:14 PM on November 1, 2010

Although you said, "Not Peter Pan", excuse me while I recommend a book whose story is based enough on Peter Pan for it to be familiar, and twisted, dark, and realistically gritty enough that you'll almost wish the original was written this way. Also comes with art cover and in-book by the author. Only a kid's book for those who've already read, and comprehended, things such as "Crime and Punishment", "Lolita", the original Grimm fairy tales, etc.

The Child Thief by Brom
posted by DisreputableDog at 11:32 PM on November 1, 2010

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