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James and the Giant Peach

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James Henry Trotter lives with two ghastly hags. Aunt Sponge is enormously fat with a face that looks boiled and Aunt Spiker is bony and screeching. He's very lonely until one day something peculiar happens. . . At the end of the garden a peach starts to grow and GROW AND GROW. Inside that peach are seven very unusual insects - all waiting to take James on a magical adventure. But where will they go in their GIANT PEACH, and what will happen to the horrible aunts if they stand in their way? There's only one way to find out . . .

176 pages, Hardcover

First published November 1, 1961

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About the author

Roald Dahl

1,324 books23.9k followers
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as A Piece of Cake. The story, about his wartime adventures, was bought by the Saturday Evening Post for $900, and propelled him into a career as a writer. Its title was inspired by a highly inaccurate and sensationalized article about the crash that blinded him, which claimed he had been shot down instead of simply having to land because of low fuel.

His first children's book was The Gremlins, about mischievous little creatures that were part of RAF folklore. The book was commissioned by Walt Disney for a film that was never made, and published in 1943. Dahl went on to create some of the best-loved children's stories of the 20th century, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach.

He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending. Many were originally written for American magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, Harper's, Playboy and The New Yorker, then subsequently collected by Dahl into anthologies, gaining world-wide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories and they have appeared in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death. His stories also brought him three Edgar Awards: in 1954, for the collection Someone Like You; in 1959, for the story "The Landlady"; and in 1980, for the episode of Tales of the Unexpected based on "Skin".

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Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
October 1, 2021
James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach is a popular children's novel written in 1961 by British author Roald Dahl.

The plot centers on a young English orphan boy who enters a gigantic, magical peach, and has a wild and surreal cross-world adventure with seven magically-altered garden bugs he meets.

They set off on a journey to escape from James' two mean and cruel aunts.

Roald Dahl was originally going to write about a giant cherry, but changed it to James and the Giant Peach because a peach is "prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry."

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «جیمز و هلوی غول پیکر»؛ «جیمز و هلوی سحرآمیز»؛ «هلوی غول پیکر»؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ انتشاراتیها: (سازمان تبلیغات، ژرف نگر؛ نوید شیراز، نشر مرکز، کاروان، افق، کارگاه سپاس، سایه بان هنر)، تاریخ نخستین خوانش: بیست و هفتم دسامبر سال1997میلادی؛

عنوان: جیمز و هلوی غول پیکر؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: مژگان شیخی؛ تهران، سازمان تبلیغات، 1375، در 133ص، مصور، 9644713117؛ موضوع داستانهای نویسندگان بریتانیا - سده 20م

عنوان: جیمز و هلوی سحرآمیز؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: گروه مترجمین؛ تهران، ژرف نگر، 1379، در 150ص، شابک9649279016؛

عنوان: جیمز و هلوی غول پیکر؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: سرور قاسمی؛ شیراز، نوید شیراز، 1381، در 112ص، مصور، شابک9643580350؛

عنوان: هلوی غول پیکر؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: ساغر صادقیان؛ تهران، نشر مرکز مریم، 1382، در 131ص، مصور، شابک9643057038؛

عنوان: جیمز و هلوی غول پیکر؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: گیتا گرکانی؛ تهران، کاروان، 1385، در 196 ص، مصور، شابک ایکس-964849746؛

عنوان: جیمز و هلوی غول پیکر؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: محبوبه نجف خانی؛ تهران، نشر افق، 1390، در 245ص، مصور، شابک9789643696641؛

عنوان: جیمز و هلوی غول پیکر؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: علی هداوند؛ تهران، کارگاه سپاس، 1392، در 176ص، شابک9786006767314؛

عنوان: جیمز و هلوی غول پیکر؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: ندا ترابی؛ تهران، سایه بان هنر، 1393، در 170 ص، شابک9786009380626؛

کتابی انتقادی است؛ «جیمز هنری تروتر»، پسری چهار ساله و معمولی است، و زندگی خیلی خوبی دارد، اما ناگهان یتیم می‌شود، برای اینکه یک «کرگدن»، که از باغ وحش «لندن» فرار کرده، و با ای��که «کرگدن»ها گیاهخوار هستند، ناگهان پدر و مادرش را می‌خورد؛ برای همین او مجبور می‌شود با دو عمه اش «سپایکر» و «سپونژ»، زندگی کند؛

عمه ها همیشه او را آزار و شکنجه می‌دهند؛ سه سال بعد، موقعی که «جیمز» دارد در جنگل هیزم میشکند، با مرد غریبه‌ ای دیدار می‌کند، که از بدبختی‌های «جیمز» خبر دارد؛ غریبه به او کیسه ی کوچکی، از عناصر مورد نیاز، برای ساختن یک معجون جادویی می‌دهد؛ که با خوردن آن‌ها «جیمز» به «ثروت»، «خوشبختی» و «ماجراهای جالب» می‌رسد

اما کیسه از دست «جیمز» میافتد، و بلورهای سبز درون آن، در زمین محو می‌شوند؛ اما پس از آن رویداد، یک درخت «هلو» در آنجا سبز و درخت «هلو»ی بزرگی در درخت میروید؛ عمه‌ ها قصد دارند، با نمایش دادن «هلو»، پولی به جیب بزنند؛ اما یک شب، «جیمز» از سوراخی در «هلو»، به داخل می‌رود؛ و با چند جاندار، مثل «هزارپا»؛ «ملخ»؛ «کفشدوزک»؛ و «کرم ابریشم»، دیدار می‌کند، که همه همقد و اندازه ی او هستند؛ سپس «هلو» با یاری «هزارپا»، از درخت جدا می‌شود؛ و در اقیانوس اطلس میافتد؛ یاران سوار بر «هلو»، عازم «نیویورک» می‌شوند؛ تا زندگی تازه‌ ای را آغاز کنند، و ماجراهای شگفت انگیزی را از سر می‌گذرانند

تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 22/08/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ 08/07/1400هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
December 10, 2020
A bad trip on the fun dip.

From what I remember from the movie I saw during rainy-day recess in first grade, there's giant fruit, several oversized scary bugs and green glowy wormy things.

It was so surreal and scary to me at the time that I've avoided the movie ever since.

As I (finally) read the book, my scattered childhood memories fell into place. And my initial impression remains essentially the same: A really bad trip on the fun dip.
“I'd rather be fried alive and eaten by Mexicans.”
Honestly, what was Dahl on when he wrote this?

James lives with two terrible old women whose main form of parenting is verbal abuse and infringement of child labor laws.

A chance encounter with a slightly creepy and definitely odd (and quite frankly, suspiciously pedophilic if the quotes are taken out of context) old man leads to a new sort of adventure:
Come right up close to me and I will show you something wonderful.
James is gifted with a bag of pure magic. Only he manages to spoil his chance at happiness by spilling the bag...

All is lost...or is it?

Overnight, the sole peach on the peach tree begins to grow... and grow... and grow.

James soon learns that within that gigantic peach are some extremely large and peculiar new friends. And soon, his drab and dreary world takes on a whole new light.
We are now about to visit the most marvelous places and see the most wonderful things!

When comparing the book to the vague memory of the movie, I am pleased to announce that the peach really was as large as I remembered, the bugs are actually delightfully charming and (at last) I know why the glowy green worms were so important.

The book brought several details to my attention that I hadn't known before, such as the whimsical cloudmen and Dahl's explanation for how weather works. At times the book seemed to lose its direction but nonetheless, a thoroughly enjoyable read!

Audiobook Comments
I absolutely love all of the Dahl audiobooks. So much fun, excitement and sound effects. Every detail comes so alive! Read by Julian Rhind-Tutt and lasting only 3.5 hours, this one is certainly a great listen.

YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads
Profile Image for Sean Barrs .
1,118 reviews44.8k followers
May 31, 2018
I read this so many times as a child and I was always so fiercely jealous of James.

James is a dreamer. He has a boring life and one day he gets the opportunity to experience something weird and surreal. Everyday breaks away from mundanity and becomes something exciting and unusual. James makes friends with interesting insects and explores places he has never seen. A giant peach takes him there. His dreams become reality.

This is certainly a story that could make any child (or adult too) fall in love with fantasy.
Profile Image for James.
Author 20 books3,712 followers
January 6, 2019
Book Review
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is a very creative story built for everyone of all ages to enjoy. I think of it as a cross between 3 things: (1) Dr. Seuss, (2) Jack and the Beanstalk and (3) Harry Potter. 4 of 5 stars to this lovely keepsake!

I had to read this book, when it's my namesake, James. But the similarities end there. James' parents have passed away and he lives with his awful aunt and uncle. A mysterious man gives him a package which helps him grow this giant peach. And then the peach turns into a house, rolls away into fantasy-land and brings tons of new cartoon characters for James to have his own family.

It's a great children's story / younger young adult story to help show the different types of family, love and support one can get. So many fun things come from here, it's a must read for all kids. My favorite character would probably be the ladybug... such a treasure in words and pictures.

FYI - Wrote this review ~2017 from memory as I want to have a review for everything I remember reading. If I messed it up, let me know! LOL :)

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews... here's the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you'll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I've visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
Profile Image for Muna.
104 reviews29 followers
August 5, 2008
When I was in third grade, the first great crush of my life, Scott Murphy, stood up on the picnic table outside of the trailer that housed my third grade class and instead of reading his lines -- James' words -- from his paperback copy while we were all trying to rehearse the chapter we were supposed to present to the entire class the next day, he performed the most passionate version of "Paradise City" by Guns N Roses that I have ever seen.

To this day, I love Gun N Roses, I love Scott Murphy, and I love this book. Magical.
Profile Image for Darth J .
417 reviews1,264 followers
August 21, 2015
For a brief period in my childhood, I was obsessed with this. After seeing the trailer, I noticed that the movie trailer tie-in edition was available in the next month's book order form so I had to have it to read before I saw it.

Then I saw the movie and of course, really loved it. It was whimsical and visually appealing, even if it did deviate from the source material in parts.

I even remember wanting to only eat and drink peach stuff for a while, and since it was the 90's I had to have my Snapple Peach Iced Tea.

So that's it, just some warm nostalgia I will always have for this book.
Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
83 reviews13.7k followers
March 11, 2020
ENGLISH (James and the Giant Peach) / ITALIANO

«Until he was four years old, James Henry Trotter had a happy life. He lived peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house beside the sea. There were always plenty of other children for him to play with, and there was the sandy beach for him to run about on, and the ocean to paddle in. It was the perfect life for a small boy»
The problem arises when his parents get eaten by a rhino! However, this regrettable and sad incident marks the beginning of a suggestive and extremely hair-brained adventure on an oversized peach.

My daughter and I continue our journey in Roald Dahl's world. You can't really go wrong with him.

Vote: 7


«Fino all'età di quattro anni, James Henry Trotter ebbe una vita felice. Viveva tranquillo con sua madre e suo padre in una bella casa sul mare. C’erano sempre molti bambini con cui giocare e c’era la spiaggia di sabbia dove scorrazzare e l’oceano per andarci in canotto. La vita ideale, per un bambino»
Il problema sorge quando i suoi genitori vengono sbranati da un rinoceronte! Tuttavia, questo increscioso e triste episodio è l'inizio di una suggestiva e quantomai strampalata avventura su di una pesca di dimensioni spropositate.

Continua il viaggio familiare mio e di mia figlia nel mondo di Roald Dahl. Con lui si va sul sicuro.

Voto: 7

Profile Image for Michael Finocchiaro.
Author 3 books5,630 followers
February 9, 2017
As always, Roald Dahl spins the most fantastic wonderful tales for children and James and the Giant Peach is up there with his greatest ones. It is also a wonderful animated film. Don't deprive your children of fantastic stories such as this one - there are one in a million!
Profile Image for Darla.
3,505 reviews614 followers
February 14, 2023
James has quite an adventure once he breaks free from those despicable aunts. Love Centipede with his shoe obsession and the NYC adventures. No wonder this is a classic.
Profile Image for Lynda.
204 reviews97 followers
November 24, 2014
James and the Giant Peach - B A N N E D!

Recently I joined the Banned Books group and one of the group reads for this month was James and the Giant Peach. I'm sure there are many GR readers who have read a Roald Dahl book and/or seen a movie adaptation of one of his books. If you have, then you would know that Dahl has consistently written stories that entertain children with morals and life lessons that even adults can appreciate.

So why was this book banned?

Let's first take a look at what James and the Giant Peach is about...

The story

This is a story about a boy named James Henry Trotter who is forced to live with his two abusive aunts (Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker) in the English countryside after his parents are tragically killed from a rhinoceros attack in London.
James is a very sad and miserable little boy. One day, a mysterious old man presents James with a bag of tiny green crystals that have magical powers. James is told that once he swallows the crystals with water, marvellous, fabulous and unbelievable things will happen to him, and he'll never be miserable again. James rushes back to the house to get some water and accidentally falls and spills the tiny green crystals near a dormant peach tree which sits on a hill nearby. The lifeless tree suddenly sprouts a peach, which begins to grow larger and larger.

His abusive aunts take notice of the giant peach. They fence it off and begin charging people money to see it. And after locking up James all day, the aunts force him to clean up after the crowds are gone.
It is while James is cleaning up around the giant peach that he discovers a tunnel leading to the middle of it. There, he finds a group of human-sized insects: Centipede, Grasshopper, Spider, Earthworm, Ladybird, Silkworm, and Glow-worm. The group befriends James and attribute their giant growth to having eaten the tiny green crystals that James had spilled.
Early the next day, the group decides to escape the horrible aunts by cutting the stem connecting the peach to the tree. The giant peach begins to roll down the hillside, flattening and killing James' two aunts in the process.

The giant peach rolls faster and faster through towns, across land until finally it crashes into the ocean. To avoid a group of vicious sharks, James attaches strings (produced by the spider and silkworm) to hundreds of seagulls and the peach is lifted and carried in the air.

As they are floating, they come across some Cloud-Men, mystic creatures who are responsible for the different types of weather, like rain, snow, and hail. And as they are drifting through the clouds, the peach crashes into a rainbow, which snaps some of the strings, and the peach begins to descend. As the peach approaches land, it crashes on top of the Empire State Building.

In the end,

Key themes

This story urges readers to take a closer look at the world around them. First, a closer look at nature. There are several amazing things happening in the natural world, from photosynthesis to the water cycle. The book even explores the importance of each type of insect and how each of them contributes to the well-being of the environment.

But this idea of looking closer at the world also applies to looking at other people and how we should take the time to talk to them to get to know them. In doing so, we can find out how they contribute to the rest of us since everyone contributes to the world.

On a more hopeful note, the underlying message of this story is that there are ways to escape a troubling homelife. The verbal and emotional abuse James receives is a bit over-the-top, but that might be the reality for some kids. How do they escape that? And while they can't fly away on a giant peach, ultimately, this story suggests that abused kids can find possible escapes through friends and writing. That the power of relationships and creativity and imagination are all a person needs to take them anywhere they want to go i.e. it shows kids that no matter how bad things may seem, or how bad they get, there is always hope.

So why was James and the Giant Peach banned?

It was banned as being too scary for the targeted age group, mysticism, sexual inferences, profanity, racism, references to tobacco and alcohol, and claims that it promotes disobedience, drugs, and communism.

A challenge was brought before the school council in Indian River County, Florida, because of the story’s mystical elements involving magic crocodile tongues which enchanted the peach tree.

The Times of London reported that it was once banned in a Wisconsin town because a reference to a spider licking her lips could be “taken in two ways, including sexual.”

That Times statement conjured up this image!! haha :))

Other challenges involve repeated use of the word “ass,” which resulted in a 1991 challenge in Altoona, Wisconsin. The following year, a woman in Hernando County, Florida, took issue with Grasshopper’s statement
“I’d rather be fried alive and eaten by a Mexican!”
as well as references to snuff, tobacco and whiskey. Her complaints to her 10-year-old daughter’s school principal led to a review by the regional school board.

In a blog by Madeline Holler, she took issue not with the language or drugs, but jokes about physical characteristics because of the physical description of James’ cruel guardians Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker. One is very fat and one is very skinny and their features are laughed at, criticized, and meant to be evoke disgust.


Book challenges and banning is proof to the power of good literature, creative language, and original imagery. While some might have issues with certain realities of the world that children are growing up in; and as troubled as it makes adults to be reminded of these facts as they attempt to shield their children from harm, children’s literature is a great way for them to get a glimpse at the issues that they WILL have to deal with some day.

I can’t think of a single book from my childhood that distorted my morality or sense of self. I was also lucky enough to have parents who didn’t shield me from the darker aspects of life. If I had an issue or question, it was talked about openly and honestly.

Profile Image for Patrick.
Author 64 books233k followers
January 24, 2014
I'm going to be completely honest here. I didn't like this book.

Usually, if I don't care for a book, I keep schtum about it here. Not only is it not as much fun to talk about books I didn't like, but bad-mouthing other author's books is pretty rude.

But, given that Dahl has passed on, and a fair number of people ask me for book recommendations for their kids. I figured I'd chime in with my opinion about this one.

I recently read it with my son, and while it wasn't *awful,* it was just... Meh. It was just a series of vaguely interesting events loosely connected by not much of anything.

And no. It's not a Picaresque. You know what a picaresque is. And if you do, it doesn't matter because that's not an excuse for a meh book with no narrative through line. So don't bring that weak shit around here.

Here's the thing, before this book, I read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory to my boy. *That* was an interesting book. Charlie was in a bad place. He was a sympathetic character. He *wanted* something for himself. He strove for it. And when he got it, we, the readers, were delighted.

James... not so much.

In Charlie and the Chocolate factory, each of the rooms was kind of cool and interesting. People talked *about* things.

IN this book, about 60% most of the dialogue was just four different people exclaiming about the same thing. Or they'd bicker pointlessly about the same things. There were some notable exceptions, but for the most part it was purposeless, and tedious to read.

Honestly, I skipped pieces of it. And my son, who has read the book before with his mother, didn't notice. (Because he *will* call me out on stuff like that.)

Now could a child enjoy reading this book on their own? Absolutely. Some of the language will be a a little opaque for a young reader, but I think that's good. That stretches your mind and builds vocabulary.

But as a book you're thinking of reading to a kid? I'd pass. There are so many other better options out there. Books with more engaging characters and more compelling stories....
Profile Image for Gavin Hetherington.
673 reviews6,092 followers
January 14, 2021
What I was hoping would be a magical tale that reminded me of my childhood turned out to be an incredibly dull but also problematic book by Dahl - yet again!

Things I liked - the idea that we shouldn't kill insects and bugs because we are scared of them, and there is a nice moment with the Spider who laments the loss of her family.

Things I disliked - the portrayal of the Aunts and all the fat-shaming that it entailed. They're awful people, but there's a recurring element of Dahl's works where he continuously fat shames. I also didn't like that this was just a dull story and highly unrealistic too. Also, the ending is the exact same as The BFG and I read one after the other and it enraged me. Also, all the SINGING. Hate it.

I had high hopes that I would love this one, as I recall enjoying the movie, but Dahl's books continue to disappoint.
Profile Image for emma.
1,865 reviews54.3k followers
July 30, 2021
peaches are very delicious, and roald dahl books are very good, and long story short even though inhabiting a stone fruit sounds like a sticky and unpleasant situation, i would do it.

part of a series i'm doing where i review books i read a long time ago. not much to say about this one.
Profile Image for Leo ..
Author 2 books382 followers
April 27, 2018
This story both fascinated and scared me when I was a child. 👍🐯
Profile Image for Krystal.
1,644 reviews384 followers
June 23, 2020
I mean, if all audio books were like this, I'd probably listen to a lot more audio books.

Join Academy Award-winning filmmaker, Taika Waititi as he reads James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, in full across 10 episodes, to raise money for @Partners In Health at: http://www.pih.org/giantpeach

FULL EPISODE 1: James & the Giant Peach w/ Taika & Friends ft. Nick Kroll, Liam & Chris Hemsworth

EP2: Meryl Streep & Benedict Cumberbatch join Taika Waitit to read James & the Giant Peach

EP3 Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson & more join Taika Waititi to read James & Giant Peach

EP4: Cara Delevingne, Olivia Wilde & more join Taika Waititi to read James & the Giant Peach #WithMe

EP5: Ryan Reynolds reads James and the Giant Peach with Taika Waititi | #WithMe

EP6: Duchess of Cornwall, Lupita Nyong'o & Josh Gad read James & the Giant Peach w/ Taika | #WithMe

EP 7: Yo-Yo Ma, Billy Porter, Cynthia Erivo, Jamie Cullum & Utkarsh Ambudkar read w/ Taika! #WithMe

EP 8: Mindy Kaling, Ben Schwartz and Gordon Ramsay read James & the Giant Peach w/ Taika! | #WithMe

EP9: Governor Andrew Cuomo and Anna Wintour read James & the Giant Peach w/ Taika Waititi! | #WithMe

EP10: Taika is joined by Jojo Rabbit co-stars Roman & Archie to read James & the Giant Peach #WithMe


Meanwhile, the story itself is super weird. Classic Roald Dahl - that guy was seriously off his rocker when he wrote this one. The insects are a funny bunch but James is an annoying little know-it-all and where he pulls his information from is anybody's guess. I'm pretty sure the ridiculousness of Dahl's writing is why I wasn't too keen on his stuff as a kid. He totally makes up his own science and I am not okay with that.

Would never have read this myself so thanks Taika and friends for doing it for me and making it a thousand times better than it would have been. It was a lot of fun. 2-star story, 4-star experience; 3 stars all up.
Profile Image for Hannah Greendale.
701 reviews3,348 followers
February 28, 2017
Click here to watch a video review of this book on my channel, From Beginning to Bookend.

James Henry Trotter is forced to live with his dreadful Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker after his beloved parents are killed in a tragic incident with a rhinoceros. There's no place as dreary and lonely as the house atop the hill where he lives with his aunts. James suspects his bad luck will change after a mysterious man arrives and offers him a bag of magic crystals. The way in which the crystals alter his circumstances is more fantastical than anything he could have ever imagined.

James and the Giant is undeniably macabre. Dahl never shies away from infusing his stories with ghastly elements.

Their names were Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spider, and I am sorry to say that they were both really horrible people. They were selfish and lazy and cruel, and right from the beginning they started beating poor James for almost no reason at all. They never called him by his real name, but always referred to him as "you disgusting little beast" or "you filthy nuisance" or "you miserable creature," and they certainly never game him any toys to play with or any picture books to look at.

Given the title of the book, it's no secret that James encounters a giant peach, but this is no ordinary piece of fruit. Dahl makes it sound like the most delectable peach imaginable:

The skin of the peach was very beautiful - a rich buttery yellow with patches of brilliant pink and red.

And all around there was the curious bittersweet smell of fresh peach. The floor was soggy under his knees, the walls were wet and sticky, and peach juice was dripping from the ceiling. James opened his mouth and caught some of it on his tongue. It tasted delicious.

James' adventure is brimming with magic and just a pinch of adult humor.

"And there's a - there's a - there's a - a - a - a sort of giant ladybug!"
"Now just a minute, Captain!" the First Officer said.
"And a
colossal green grasshopper!"
"Captain!" the First Officer said sharply. "Captain, please!"
"And a
mammoth spider!"
"Oh dear, he's been at the whisky again," whispered the Second Officer.

Sail away on a giant peach in this delightful story of a boy finding friends in unusual ways and in astonishing places.
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,029 reviews933 followers
July 4, 2017
2017 is the year of reading Roald Dahl for me! I'm trying to read all his books that I can get my hands on plus reread all the books I've previously read of his :)

When I read this book a very long time ago I rated in 3 stars. I think as an adult I enjoyed reading this book more than I did as a child.

James accidentally drops some magic crystals by an old peach tree. This causes the peach at the top of the tree to grow huge!! James enters the fruit and meets some new friends: a grasshopper, Ladybug, and a Centipede. The peach rolls away from its tree and the adventure began!
Profile Image for Sam Quixote.
4,539 reviews12.9k followers
January 13, 2019
Magic beans transforms an ordinary peach into a gigantic piece of fruit and its surrounding insect populace human-sized, before going on to rescue James Henry Trotter from his sad life with his evil aunts, Spiker and Sponge.

I remember not really liking James and the Giant Peach all that much when I was a kid but I still thought it was an ok book. On re-reading though, eh, no - it’s not very good at all!

There’s no real story - the peach heads to America for no reason - and plot elements were too contrived, even for a kid’s book. James lassoing hundreds of seagulls in no time at all and then them carrying them across the sea - it’s just too easy and unimaginative.

A lot of the characters were unmemorable - besides the Centipede and the Earthworm nobody really has a personality and those two weren’t exactly very likeable either! Oh and I haaaated the tedious songs that kept cropping up - it was like reading bloody Tolkien again!

I liked the more macabre elements of the story like the oddly sinister Cloud-Men and the “immense grey batlike creature swooping down towards them out of the dark” - Quentin Blake’s drawing really sells them too. The batlike creature is a really weird inclusion as it has no bearing on the plot and is never mentioned again. But that kind of strange detail is partly why you re-read as you notice stuff you didn’t the first time!

Unfortunately besides these brief moments, it was a very boring read. James and the Giant Peach may have been Roald Dahl’s breakthrough book but it’s definitely not among his best.
Profile Image for Emily B.
442 reviews441 followers
October 5, 2020
I would definitely recommend James and the giant peach. Fun, quirky story that can be loved by all
Profile Image for Matt.
3,811 reviews12.8k followers
February 6, 2017
I have always been taught to start at the beginning, which seemed like sage advice when I wanted to explore some of the children's stories that Roald Dahl crafted over his long and illustrious career. Choosing this work, apparently his first stab at children's literature, proved highly entertaining and a wonderful way to spend a few hours. After an accident claims the life of his parents, young James Henry Trotter is sent to live with his wicked aunts, facing a period of miserable adjustment. While out one day, he encounters a man who offers him a sack of magical beans that will, so the tale goes, react marvellously with the first living thing they encounter. James brings them home and while outside, the beans escape at the base of an old peach tree that has not shown any signs of life for many years. James witnesses a peach growing larger than anything he has ever seen in all his years and soon approaches it. He discovers a number of other creatures that have reacted with the beans, including a grasshopper, an earthworm, and a ladybug. Crawling inside a hole within this peach, James escapes the confines of his yard and sets about on an adventure with his new-found friends. Rolling through town, they eventually make their way to the open waters and find themselves marooned in the middle of the Atlantic. James and his 'pesty' friends use their wherewithal and conquer numerous enemies as they tackle a number adventures before them. James, in turn, learns the importance of new and exciting friendships, leaving some of the sorrow of his past behind him. Dahl at his best, proves how he became a household name amongst children's authors.

As part of my 2017 reading goals, I thought I would pave the way and return to reading some of the classic books from my youth, in hopes of introducing them to my son in the coming years. Dahl has a way of telling a great story that will appease the young reader while also instilling great values and ideals into their little minds, sure to please parents and other adults. The stories have a degree of silliness, but also adventure and excitement, allowing the reader's interest to be piqued to forge onwards a little more. While some books out there seek to create a spark amongst children by addressing modern characters and technologies, Dahl's ideas and presentation are timeless, which I would venture to say might spurn children whose attention span has been whittled down by games and electronics to turn to these stories and take a moment to absorb all that is going on from chapter to chapter. Timeless classics are hard to discover in this fast-paced world, but Dahl has left these stories as breadcrumbs to discovering the wonders of early reading.

Kudos, Mr. Dahl for introducing me to reading and the love of books. I hope to bring another generation of readers up to see the wonders of your storytelling abilities.

Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:
Profile Image for Sophia.
2,048 reviews202 followers
January 28, 2022
Actual rating 3.8 stars.
I was looking for more novels to read (that were short) and this one spoke to me.
Maybe because it’s one of the few brightly coloured books on my shelf 😂

I loved the ridiculousness of this story. I can see how it could excite the imagination of a child.

Each character (or ‘creature’) was unique.
I loved that James, who had been alone for so long and had been forced to do so many chores, gained a new group of friends who relied on him in a way that allowed him to gain confidence.

I was a little surprised at how the Aunts' deaths were talked (or sung) about.

Overall, this was a cool little adventure story. James gained friends and leadership skills and the ‘creatures’ ended up with better lives than they had before.
Profile Image for Suhailah.
219 reviews20 followers
June 13, 2023
“But the peach…ah, yes…the peach was a soft, stealthy traveler, making no noise as it floated along. And several times during that long silent night ride high up over the middle of the ocean in the moonlight, James and his friends saw things that no one had ever seen before.”

This book is pure nostalgia, a nod to my earlier years of life when I was absolutely in love with the movie version. It was my second childhood favorite film of Tim Burton’s, the first being Nightmare Before Christmas! I don’t know if it’s because I saw the movie first and it’s so near and dear to my heart, but I’d have to say the movie is slightly better than the book. It could also be the differences between the two? Despite that though, I still really enjoyed getting lost in the book. It was a fun adventure!

What can be more whimsical than escaping an awful life in a giant peach with a bunch of friendly bugs? James found a new family and discovered his own self worth/self esteem during his adventures as he became a leader. It’s a very heart warming and hopeful tale. And you just have to love the bugs! They all have unique personalities and roles. My favorites are Miss Spider and Centipede. Lady Bird (aka Mrs. Ladybug) always reminded me of my grandmother in the movie LOL!

I enjoyed this read on audiobook. The sound effects were engaging; I absolutely loved the experience! And yes, I may have craved peaches the whole time I was reading this. Haha!

I also really loved that there was a reference in the story to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The peach crashes into a chocolate factory causing a stream of chocolate to swarm the streets! It was awesome!

5/5 for giving my heart a hug!

February 1, 2020
“We are now about to visit the most marvelous places and see the most wonderful things!”

So, a couple of month ago I got gifted a whole box of Roal Dahl's books by somebody who knew very well he was my favourite author when I was a child. So, obviously, I decided to re-read all his books. And the more I read them, the more I become convinced that I don't really like Roald Dahl. I mean, his ideas are bizarre and funny but after a while they just become repetitive. Also, he's mean!! I would sincerely think twice before giving his books to a kid...

Meet James, a young fella who lives with his ugly aunts who are fat and ugly. Did I mention one of them is fat? Yeah, I mean Roal Dhal loves to make fun of big people- also blind people - but I digress. James is walking alone one day when he meets a suspicious individual who suggests he gets some suspicious items he is giving him and eats them; if he does so, magical things will happen. Marvelous things, indeed. Kids, make fun of fat people by creating funny rhymes and get lots of candy from strangers! Magical things will happen if you do so! Like getting inside a giant peach with a bunch of giant bugs who are mean to each other and to everybody else, just as much as the aunts are mean, James is mean, literally everybody is mean. I never read kids books with such horrible messages like Dahl's.

So why, you may wonder, are you going on reading this author if you know he is despicable? Two reasons: one, Quentin Blake (the illustrator), and two... I have to admit... deep down... I still love good ol' mean Roal Dahl 😈
Just... in small doses... okay? And for goodness' sake, do not give these books to children!!! 🤣🤣🤣
Profile Image for mark monday.
1,676 reviews5,250 followers
September 2, 2013
used to dream of being James. had my special favorites amongst all the talking insects, but really they were all my favorites. also used to look at animal encyclopedias and write lists of my favorite animals. then I'd imagine going on an Incredible Journey with them. animals are so much better than people!
Profile Image for Ken.
2,204 reviews1,329 followers
October 8, 2021
Dahl’s first children’s book perfectly captures why he’s such a beloved author.

From the spirt of adventure to the weird quirky comedy of James’s parents being killed by escaped rhinoceros, the book juggles everything that a child would wish to read.

Mostly importantly are the insect characters that inhabit the peach, all play their part in the journey and help educate the reader on natural history.
From the glow worms light to the spiders web used for hammocks.

This book definitely peaked my interest in bugs!
Profile Image for midnightfaerie.
1,979 reviews121 followers
January 22, 2013
I read James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl with my five year old. We had just finished Charlotte's Web and I was looking for chapter books I could enjoy as well. And I knew we had the movie so we could watch it when we were done. It turned out to be a great choice. Dahl uses the cliffhanger method at the end of almost every one of his chapters, and each chapter is only a page or two long. That combined with great illustrations, made for a win-win situation. I often ended a chapter only to have my son beg for another. This is a good sign, and something he didn't do with Charlotte's Web, even though he enjoyed it too. I also picked it because it was something I had never read. Turns out it was the perfect selection all around. Only took us a few weeks to read it and it was highly enjoyable. The characters come alive in a way other stories about bugs never did for me. I actually found myself sympathizing with the earthworm. The imagination and magic factor held me the whole time, and my son and I often discussed what would happen next. Some of our ideas were so far out there, but we laughed, knowing it was highly possible, even probable that they could very well be true. Dahl's penchant for silliness and the unexpected made our guesses that much more realistic.

The vocabulary was perfect, just enough to keep me from being bored, but easy enough for my son to understand, and we both learned new words! His was peach stone, another name for a peach pit. Mine was steeplejacks, and no, I won't tell you what it is, you have to look it up. Dahl's writing is fantastic, and I had great fun making up tunes to his songs throughout the book. The book definitely has the longevity factor going for it, and children can appreciate the many themes of friendship and loyalty for the duration the book. So in these regards I think it can be considered a classic.

The only complaint that some may have about this book is that he uses the word "ass" a few times in it, and even though I was told about it, I was still surprised when I stumbled over their use. Because I was reading this to my son, it wasn't a problem, I just substituted a word for it or skipped over it. If a child is reading the book on their own, well, I'm a big believer that if the adult cares so much, they should be reading the books first and then discussing it with their kids. Much of the great literature that's out there has ideas that are taboo in polite circles or are difficult concepts to explain when looking at human history. But that's what makes them great. And it's much better to educate your child, and do it yourself, before they get misconstrued opinions from the world at large or other teachers. I remember many teachers I had that pushed their opinions, good and bad on students when reading literature. That's a parent's responsibility. As for this book, it was excellent. And I highly recommend it for your first chapter books for your child.

Now for the movie. I was excited because this was the first time my son had read a book and seen the movie afterward. It was funny to see how disappointed he was. That sounds bad. What I mean is, he enjoyed it and we had a fun "popcorn night" that is one of his favorite things, but his favorite part of the movie was the part about the sharks. He was like, "There wasn't a robot shark in the book! Where are the real sharks? And what happened to the cloud men?" I laughed. I told him it often happens that the movie is nothing like the book and then asked which he liked better. He vehemently exclaimed "The book!" Which, of course, was the whole objective. Lesson learned.

Profile Image for Jeanette (Ms. Feisty).
2,179 reviews1,944 followers
November 18, 2019
I've never visited Central Park, but if I ever do, I'll be watching for the giant peach pit where James Henry Trotter settled happily after his wild excursion.

I knew I liked this book as a kid but I couldn't remember the details of the story. The thing that stayed in my mind all these years was the feeling of claustrophobia when James makes his way inside the peach and finds all the giant, friendly creepy-crawlies inside the peach pit. As a kid you always place yourself within the story, and I remember thinking how I'd hate to be in that enclosed space with all those critters and no windows. There was no fear of Old-Green-Grasshopper or Centipede or Earthworm or any of the others, just the feeling that if I were James I'd want OUT of that peach pit and into the fresh air.

Reading it again as an adult, my strongest impressions are of just how much FUN this whole adventure is. Roald Dahl manages the perfect blend of whimsical, frightful, exciting, and tender elements. I think that's why his books can be every bit as appealing to adults as they are to children. I'd be laughing one minute at Centipede's songs about Aunts Sponge and Spiker, and grossing out a few minutes later when Centipede tells Earthworm that the Cloud-Men will eat him: "They would cut you up like a salami and eat you in thin slices."

There's just so much to delight the reader in this first of Roald Dahl's books for children. There are the Cloud-Men who make the weather, the quirky and fractious creatures who share James's journey, the rainbow paint (LOVE the purple rainbow paint on the Centipede!), and of course the strange little man with the bristly black whiskers who gets the whole thing rolling with the "little green things."
"Where do they come from?" James wants to know.

"Crocodile tongues! One thousand long slimy crocodile tongues boiled up in the skull of a dead witch for twenty days and nights with the eyeballs of a lizard! Add the fingers of a young monkey, the gizzard of a pig, the beak of a green parrot, the juice of a porcupine, and three spoonfuls of sugar. Stew for another week, and then let the moon do the rest!"

Ah, Roald Dahl....You can still make my heart go pitter-pat with passages like that.
Profile Image for Karen Chee.
21 reviews249 followers
June 20, 2023
A.k.a. James and his Dumptruck Ass!!!!!!!!1! Hahahhahahaha man life is hard and it's the little jokes like this that make it worth living, u know ? anyway, my wife left me
Profile Image for Amy Talluto.
50 reviews1 follower
August 24, 2007
A funny, dark and poetic book. I read this after seeing a documentary about Roald Dahls' life and hearing some of the book's passages narrated within the perspective of his time cramped up in a WWII bomber plane as a bombardier (he was very tall). The peach represents the polar opposite of being in a noisy and clattering war plane, manning a gun and always under the threat of death. The peach is a peaceful, sweet and quiet flying machine.
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