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James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
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James and the Giant Peach (original 1961; edition 1961)

by Roald Dahl, Nancy Ekholm Burkert (Illustrator)

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10,996229256 (3.97)216
Member:dantesraven
Title:James and the Giant Peach
Authors:Roald Dahl
Other authors:Nancy Ekholm Burkert (Illustrator)
Info:Alfred A. Knopf (1961), Edition: First Edition / Second Issue, Unknown Binding
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Fiction, Childrens

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James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (1961)

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» See also 216 mentions

English (227)  German (1)  Catalan (1)  Swedish (1)  All languages (230)
Showing 1-5 of 227 (next | show all)
I gave this a 5 out of 5 rating mainly for the narration by Jeremy Irons. Holy hell. He could narrate a phone book and I would line up to buy it. His voice is smooth as peanut butter. As beautiful as a willow tree. As exciting as a festival. It's everything I've ever wanted in a narrator. I want him to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Jeremy Irons took an already fun and inventive children's book and made it even better. I apologize that this review is more about Jeremy Irons than the book, but his voice is damn distracting. Good book, even better narrator. ( )
  ecataldi | Jul 4, 2016 |
James is a lonely orphaned boy who lives with his cruel aunts at the top of desolate hill with no friends or other children in sight. One day a strange man appears on the edge of the property and offers Henry a paper sack full of magical green things, which will give the recipient power. In his excitement, James drops the bag and the magic goes into a peach tree, which grows a giant peach populated with gigantic insects. James and his new-found insect friends go on adventure after adventure when the peach rolls down the hill and takes them across treacherous and exciting routes.

I decided to pick this book for two reasons:

1) I was hosting a 1960s themed party and wanted to have books from the sixties for the kids at the party to read if they felt so inclined.
2) Although I've seen both Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movies as well as Matilda, I've never actually read any Roald Dahl's books in their entirety, just one pop-up book adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. So I thought it was past time to finally read one.

This book was humorous and full of adventure and is definitely a quick, light read as a result. There are some things in the book that I feel wouldn't be considered as acceptable for children's literature if this were written today -- such as a young boy accepting magic pills from a strange man lurking in the shadows and lots of adult deaths treated rather flippantly -- but it's not overwhelmingly inappropriate. Likewise, I'd expect a book written in the 60s by a man to have a lot of issues regarding gender and while there's a few traditional gender roles depicted here and there (e.g., the Cloud Men go off to work on the weather while the Cloud Women stay home and cook the men dinner), the book actually does a decent job of splitting the main characters evenly between male and female without the female characters being stereotypes (i.e., James has four female insect friends and three male insect friends, with all the insects being helpful in sticky situations by using their unique talents).

One of the things that I personally had a tiny gripe with as an adult reader is that the book is of course a fantasy - hello, magical green things, peaches large enough to break down fences, talking insects, Cloud Men, etc. - but there were times when Dahl threw in some actual factual information, particularly regarding the insects and their various features and abilities. Maybe I'm mistaken, but I felt like young children could come away from this book confused about what's real and what isn't. Hopefully, I'm wrong and kids would be able to easily distinguish the wildly fantastic from the everyday, but they might need a parent who reads this along with them (either aloud or in parallel) to help them make those distinctions.

The edition I had was a re-release from the 1990s featuring illustrations by Lane Smith. These were a nice addition that add to the book by giving kids a view visuals to work with while reading along. The black-and-white illustrations are minimalistic but animated enough to add a dash of extra fun to the story. ( )
1 vote sweetiegherkin | Jul 2, 2016 |
I remember loving this one and reading it several times when growing up. It had fun illustrations and an exciting, fantastical story. A delight to read. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
I remember loving this one and reading it several times when growing up. It had fun illustrations and an exciting, fantastical story. A delight to read. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
I remember loving this one and reading it several times when growing up. It had fun illustrations and an exciting, fantastical story. A delight to read. ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 227 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (39 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roald Dahlprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berkert, Nancy EkholmIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Blake, QuentinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Irons, JeremyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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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Haiku summary
James escapes his aunts
on board a giant peach with
huge, friendly insects.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140374248, Paperback)

When poor James Henry Trotter loses his parents in a horrible rhinoceros accident, he is forced to live with his two wicked aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. After three years he becomes "the saddest and loneliest boy you could find." Then one day, a wizened old man in a dark-green suit gives James a bag of magic crystals that promise to reverse his misery forever. When James accidentally spills the crystals on his aunts' withered peach tree, he sets the adventure in motion. From the old tree a single peach grows, and grows, and grows some more, until finally James climbs inside the giant fruit and rolls away from his despicable aunts to a whole new life. James befriends an assortment of hilarious characters, including Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider, and Centipede--each with his or her own song to sing. Roald Dahl's rich imagery and amusing characters ensure that parents will not tire of reading this classic aloud, which they will no doubt be called to do over and over again! With the addition of witty black and white pencil drawings by Lane Smith (of The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs fame), upon which the animation for the Disney movie was based, this classic, now in paperback, is bursting with renewed vigor. We'll just come right out and say it: James and the Giant Peach is one of the finest children's books ever written. (Ages 9 to 12)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:34 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 20 descriptions

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Audible.com

3 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

7 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0141805927, 0141322632, 014180775X, 0141331267, 0141333189, 0143106341, 0241953308

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