Published in: 1961
Edition read: E-reader
When James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. When James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit and crawls inside, he meets wonderful new friends–the Old-Green-Grasshopper, the dainty Ladybug, and the Centipede of the multiple boots. After years of feeling like an outsider in his aunts’ house, James finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach household starts rolling away–and the adventure begins!
I had to find a slightly more appropriate book to read during lunches at work (as vampire romances are a little less than appropriate in public, I have learnt!) so enter in my to-read list, where I’ve added soooo many books that it’s a little overwhelming. This was one of those random adds to the list, and I decided what the hell, let’s give it a whirl. If anything, it’ll be an easy read.
It was certainly that. James lives with evil aunts who hate him and make his life miserable and force him to do horrid chores and have no fun (Cinderella anyone?), and so he wishes to be taken away from this life. Enter magic crystals (magic!!!) , giant insects, and a peach. The peach violently crushes the evil aunts, killing them- to which the sadistic grasshopper makes up a song and merrily sings it while dancing around. I may have gotten slightly bored while reading this and taken on a rather cynical outlook overall… I apologise for how that influences this review.
It’s an okay story. Clearly for kids, it is full of adventure and wonder and mischief, and a fun read indeed. Could have done without the weird songs, but I guess you can’t have everything. I reckon it’d be brilliant to read this with small children, as they would get a kick out of everything in the book. As for adults, the wonder of the book is slightly lost on the cynical amongst us, but if you read it with an open mind, you are more likely to find it a good read.
Or you can take the cynical outlook like me and then giggle to yourself over the sadistic insects and their bloodthirsty ways. Both are valid options.
James and the Giant Peach rating: 5/10. Neither great nor bad
Would I re-read it? I think I shall add it to my ‘to read with potential future children one day’ list, as this would be really great to read to kids.
Who would I recommend it to? Fans of the Disney movie. People with children under 10. People who like peaches.
Author’s website: https://www.roalddahl.com/home?url=/roald-dahl/stories/1960s/james-and-the-giant-peach