Monday, March 4, 2013

Rereading James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Here is James Henry Trotter when he was about four years old.  Up until this time, he had had a happy life, living peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house beside the sea.

James and the Giant Peach is one of Roald Dahl's most famous books, probably second after Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It is the story of a little boy named James and also a giant peach. You'd never have guessed, right? Anyway, James lives with his two horrible aunts, Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge (one thin, one fat) after his parents are killed by a rhinoceros escaped from the zoo. One day a strange man gives James a bag of something magical, but he drops it, and the magic goes into the old peach tree and into various insects in the ground! Crafty Spiker realizes that they can make money out of the peach. Eventually, James gets into the center through a tunnel, and meets a whole host of giant, talking insects! There's musical Old Grasshopper, the kindly Ladybug, Spider, the rascally Centipede, the pessimistic Earthworm, a glow worm, and a silk worm. They snap the peach from its stem and end up in the sea, eventually arriving in New York after many adventures.

My favorite character was definitely the Centipede; he can be really reckless at times, and do some stupid things, but he's so roguish and so hilarious! He loves to sing strange songs about various things, and I loved reading the songs, which showcase Dahl's amazing imagination. James is a great character too; he's small, but he's smart, and probably the most important part of the crew. I love the scene when they're all panicking about what to eat, but then James reminds them that their boat is a giant peach! The part with the seagulls is ingenious too. I also loved that there was a possible reference to Wonka's chocolate factory at the beginning.

The one thing that bothers me a little bit about Roald Dahl is that there are practically no kind adults. No, I shouldn't say that. In Matilda, there's Miss Honey, and in The Witches, there's the grandmother. In James and the Giant Peach, however, there aren't any who actually play a part in the book. Usually, there aren't many at all. That's part of what adds to the entertainment, but still, there's something not quite right there. I still love Roald Dahl though.

I'm almost done rereading Dahl for a while. Have you been getting bored? I hope not. I'm going to reread Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and then I'm done for the moment. I skipped rereading Danny, Champion of the World, and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. There are also some Roald Dahl books that (gasp!) I don't own.

Read James and the Giant Peach:
  • if you like Roald Dahl
  • if you've seen a movie or play version of it
  • if you like books with talking insects
126 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

1 comment:

  1. I love this movie and I do have the book. I have had the book on my shelf for ages and I don't know what I'm waiting for. I think everyone's favorite was the centipede although I do like the earthworm and the grasshopper... so I guess I can't choose :P
    I don't know I never thought of it. I think some authors try to appeal to kids the most that's why the adults are the bad guys most of the time. Looking forward to you other Roald Dahl reviews (: