James and the Giant Peach

by Roald Dahl
Reviewed date: 2010 Aug 5
144 pages
cover art

I found James and the Giant Peach to be a little more fanciful and a bit less clever than some of Roald Dahl's other works. However, it's still a delightful story, made more so by the excellent illustrations by Lane Smith.

James Henry Trotter is orphaned at age four, and now lives with the two most horrible women in the world: Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. A garden gnome gives James a bag of magic sticks, which he spills on the ground by the peach tree. The next thing you know, there's a peach as big as a house. James tunnels into the peach, where he meets some strange new friends: man-sized bugs. There is the Earthworm, the Centipede, the Old-Green-Grasshopper, Miss Spider, the Ladybug, the Glowworm and the Silkworm.

The peach stem breaks off the tree and the peach starts rolling. Bump! Bump! Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker are squashed flat. The peach rolls until it falls into the ocean. James and his friends float for a while, then they harness the power of seagulls and float gently into the sky. After many adventures with the Cloud-Men, they float into New York City and land on the spire of the Empire State Building. James and his bug friends are heroes, and everyone lives happily ever after.

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