Most of the text of Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens was included as chapters 13–18 of Barrie's earlier novel The Little White Bird, published in 1902, with minor differences appearing on only nine pages of the separately published 1906 novel. The Little White Bird was published as a novel for adult readers; whereas Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens was published specifically as a children's book. Scholar Jacqueline Rose perceives, however, that the book is not so much a children's book as one for art collectors thanks to the 1906 edition's illustrations by Arthur Rackham. This edition, published by Hodder & Stoughton, included 49 engraved plates printed in a three-color process.
In 1904, Barrie wrote a stage play titled Peter Pan, or the Boy Who Would Not Grow Up, performed in December of that year, although it had not yet been published. The play is not a sequel or adaptation of the earlier novel; it is a different story, though closely based on the literary style, subtext concepts, and the Peter Pan character he had developed in The Little White Bird and Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens. In the play and later novel, Peter Pan as a character, is portrayed as a few years older than the Peter Pan of Kensington Gardens. The stage play became the basis for Barrie's 1911 novel Peter and Wendy (later published under the title Peter Pan and Wendy in 1921, with subsequent publications using the title Peter Pan). The script of the stage play itself was published later in 1928.