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James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
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James and the Giant Peach (1961)

by Roald Dahl

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
14,498308268 (3.97)264
A young boy escapes from two wicked aunts and embarks on a series of adventures with six giant insects he meets inside a giant peach.
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» See also 264 mentions

English (304)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Catalan (1)  All languages (308)
Showing 1-5 of 304 (next | show all)
I had to read this book in elementary school and I absolutely hated it. After reading it as an adult, I still am not a fan. After losing both of his parents James is sent to live with his horrible aunts. One day James receives a bag of magical beans, which find their way to an old peach tree and transform a peach along with a grasshopper, ladybug, and earthworm, into giants. Yes, it is exactly as bizarre as it sounds. As a child, I think I was a bit scared by the book (and terrified of the movie). As an adult, I just think it is surreal. James does learn important lessons about friendships and pain. Personally I don’t enjoy this book, but I have known many people who have loved it. ( )
  slserpas | May 3, 2020 |
Original dust jacket
  JamesLemons | Apr 26, 2020 |
A great classic. ( )
  Linyarai | Feb 16, 2020 |
While Roald Dahl was a staple of my childhood, I really don’t remember reading James and the Giant Peach. I do remember the Tim Burton film, however, and that was a childhood staple along with the adaptations of Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My copy of James and the Giant Peach is not a beloved childhood copy, but an edition I picked up at library book sale when I was in high school and treasured simply because Roald Dahl’s imagination was informative of my childhood reading.

This is all to day – I’m sure I read James and the Giant Peach as a youngling, but I simply don’t remember it.

Revisiting this book as an adult is… interesting. It’s not charming like The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me or mortifyingly bad like Fantastic Mr. Fox. This book is a bit longer than both of those and written for slightly older audiences. There’s very little character development, but it retains the weird and fascinating edge of Dahl’s other work. I’d say that James and the Giant Peach is a decent story, but I can see why childhood-me didn’t fall in love with it.

James is given a wonderful, magical gift by a creepy old man and while this plays against all the warnings parents give their kids, James is fictional and the glowing green things are an interesting temptation. He’s an orphan, and his aunts are two stereotypical bullies, so you can’t particularly blame James for ignoring Stranger Danger and accepting a little magic, even when things don’t go according to plan.

At this point in the review, I think I’d just like to offer a blanket statement for any of Roald Dahl’s books. These teach terrible lessons to children. They are magical and delightful, but there’s a who lot of children running away with strangers and eating things they oughtn’t and breaking and entering, etc. If you’re looking for any sort of wholesome children’s story, probably steer clear of Dahl. That said, he had a fantastic imagination.

What follows the initial mishap with the boiled crocodile tongues / glowy green things is a transatlantic journey with unlikely companions. There are always little mishaps to make the journey interesting, and we do get to learn a little about a few of the leveling companions – earthworms and centipedes and grasshoppers in particular. Each bug riding the peach has its little moment, but no character (save maybe the Centipede and the Earthworm) are allowed any real character development… and I include James, our protagonist, in that statement. James and the Giant Peach is more about the journey than the people journeying.

There are moments when characters break into verse as well, so if you enjoy poetry in your children’s chapter books, then you’ll enjoy this as well. For myself, I don’t care for it. In particular, it was used in James and the Giant Peach to review recent situations and served mostly as filler text, which was a bit blah to me. I think that’s the best way for me to illustrate my feelings about this book – it was fine in general, but it wasn’t my favorite of his works and I’m no overly attached to it.

A note particular to my edition – I have a Puffin Classics edition that uses the original art by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. While I can appreciate the skill of an artist, I have to admit that the drawings in this edition are creepy. She doesn’t draw eyes… just black holes, making James appear a bit demonic? I think it would have freaked me out when I was a kid. ( )
  Morteana | Feb 9, 2020 |
i read this over the weekend when i had trouble falling back asleep. its so rad! evil aunts! cloud people! sharks! ( )
  reg_lt | Feb 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 304 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (30 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roald Dahlprimary authorall editionscalculated
Blake, QuentinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Burkert, Nancy EkholmIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Irons, JeremyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

Is contained in

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / The Witches / Fantasic Mr. Fox / The Twits / James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Gsx: Dahl 10 Copy Audio Set in Zipped Tin (Tbp) by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl Collection - 15 Paperback Book Boxed Set by Roald Dahl

The Roald Dahl Audio CD Collection: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / James and the Giant Peach / Fantastic Mr. Fox / The Enormous Crocodile / The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl 10 Book Pack (Esio Trot, George's Marvelous Medicine, The Twits, The Witches, The Giraffe the Pelly and Me, Going Solo, Matilda, Danny the Champion of the World, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach) by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl 5 Book Box Set by Roald Dahl

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People/Characters
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Important events
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Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
This book is for Olivia and Tessa.
First words
Until he was four years old, James Henry Trotter had a happy life.
Quotations
And sometimes, if you were very lucky, you would find the Old-Green-Grasshopper in there as well, resting peacefully in a chair before the fire, or perhaps it would be the Ladybug who had dropped in for a cup of tea and gossip, or the Centipede to show off a new batch of particularly elegant boots that he had just acquired.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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Book description
Haiku summary
James escapes his aunts
on board a giant peach with
huge, friendly insects.
(passion4reading)

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