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James and the Giant Peach Paperback – August 16, 2007

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Editorial Reviews Review

Roald Dahl's classic children's novel is now a motion picture from The Walt Disney Company, and this version of James and the Giant Peach grew out of the making of the movie. Lane Smith, conceptual artist for the film, has given James and company a new and arresting look, much in the style of his many highly regarded books, such as Math Curse and The Stinky Cheeseman. Karey Kirkpatrick, the film's screenwriter, created a text that is true to the spirit of Dahl's original, and deftly pulls young readers into the remarkable story. All in all, it's a peach of a book sure to be the pick of every child's bookshelf! --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Lane Smith trades stinky cheese for fantastic fruit with his black-and-white illustrations for Roald Dahl's classic 1961 novel, James and the Giant Peach. The reissue is timed to coincide with the release of the Disney animated motion picture based on Smith's suitably subversive visual interpretation.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 0870 (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin Books; Reprint edition (August 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142410365
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142410363
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.4 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (627 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,620 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Llandaff, South Wales, and went to Repton School in England. His parents were Norwegian, so holidays were spent in Norway. As he explains in Boy, he turned down the idea of university in favor of a job that would take him to"a wonderful faraway place. In 1933 he joined the Shell Company, which sent him to Mombasa in East Africa. When World War II began in 1939 he became a fighter pilot and in 1942 was made assistant air attaché in Washington, where he started to write short stories. His first major success as a writer for children was in 1964. Thereafter his children's books brought him increasing popularity, and when he died children mourned the world over, particularly in Britain where he had lived for many years.The BFG is dedicated to the memory of Roald Dahls eldest daughter, Olivia, who died from measles when she was seven - the same age at which his sister had died (fron appendicitis) over forty years before. Quentin Blake, the first Children's Laureate of the United Kingdom, has illustrated most of Roald Dahl's children's books.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

75 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Leonard Niehans on October 12, 2003
Format: Paperback
I first read "James and the Giant Peach" when I was 9 years old (I am 14 now), and reread it so many times that I actually know the story by heart! This book is funny, exciting and makes me use my imagination.

The story: After his parents are eaten by a rhinoceros (I would've made a tiger eat them instead, since in real life rhinos don't eat meat!), young James Henry Trotter has to go live with his two mean aunts named Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, who treat him very very badly. Poor James has to live with his aunts for three whole years until one day a mysterious man gives him a bag of magic things. (He tells him they are crocodile tongues.) James is so excited that he starts running back to the house, but when he is underneath an old peach tree in the garden he accidentally slips and spills all the tiny little things and they dig themselves into the roots of the tree.
Suddenly a peach appears on the very tip of the tree and then starts to grow and grow and doesn't stop until it is as big as a house! The aunts are so excited about this that instead of immediately eating pieces off the peach they start charging people to see the peach. After everyone has left they force James to pick up all the litter that the people left behind. Poor James is left all alone in the dark! For no particular reason, James walks up to the peach and starts touching it. He notices that there is a rather large hole in the peach. He crawls in, and the hole becomes a tunnel. He keeps on crawling until he reaches the center of the peach. He meets seven oversized insects who turn out to have swallowed some of the tiny little things that James had spilled. When the stem snips off (with some help, of course), the peach rolls off and the eight travellers embark on the adventure of a lifetime!
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By kristen on April 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am a tutor for a young child. I recently read this book to a child who doesn't like to read, and he could not put this book down. From a child's perspective, he found the book easy to read. He said the words jumped off the page giving him images in his mind. He loved the adventure and even put himself in the book as James. He pretended to be on the adventure and enjoyed every page. This book can jump start any child's interest to read. This book installs creativity and a fun love to read in a child.
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27 of 32 people found the following review helpful By M. Allen Greenbaum HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on February 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
(I am reviewing the 1988 Windrush large print version of the original 1961 book by Dahl. Illustrations are by Michel Simeon.)
This fanciful book's old-fashioned style and content almost feels as if it were written at the turn of the 19th Century, and the James' initial misery recalls Dickens. The writing's rough edges make it seem more like a personal story, rather than the product of some anonymous conglomerate.
Unfortunately, the beginning of the book (where James magically escapes from his aunts) seems contrived, the aunts are unbelievably cruel, and the writing is somehow flat. However, the book picks up after James and his newfound insect friends escape via a magic peach. The bantering and arguing insect personalities are reminiscent of those in "Winnie the Pooh" and "The Wizard of Oz." (The feuding Centipede and Worm are a bit like emotionally labile Tigger and pessimistic Eeyore; the "LadyBird" plays a role similar to the Scarecrow.) The insects' squabbling and fear is balanced by James' good-hearted and well-reasoned actions that save them from sharks, the angry "Cloud People" (who throw hail, water, and rainbow-making paint at them), and the fearful citizens of New York City.
Dahl has lots of word play ("Oh, just look at the vermicious gruesome face!"), and songs done in a kind of "Alice of Wonderland" meets Broadway style: "I've eaten many strange and scrumptious dishes in my time, Like jellied gnats and dandyprats and earwigs cooked in slime, And mice with rice-they're really nice/When roasted in their prime. (But don't forget to sprinkle them with just a pinch of grime.)" As you can see, the humor (and some of Michel Simeon's illustrations for the 1988 edition) is sometimes fun-gothic, and the demise of the aunts is not like that pictured in the movie based on the book (They get run over by the peach.) Overall, however, and despite its slow beginning, the book is stylish and lots of fun.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Geetha Krishnan on November 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for children from 4 to 10. I am way past that age but I still enjoyed it. Dahl's style of writing is excellent and the story is quite simple and interesting. All in all, an excellent book and I would recommend anyone with children to buy it.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Craig Amick on November 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
James was orphaned as a child when his parents were killed in the streets of London. After this tragic incident, James was sent to live with two of his aunts. While living with his aunts, James endures physical, verbal and mental abuse. He lives in these horrible circumstances for three years before he meets an old man who gives him a bag of magic crystals. The old man says that these crystals will end all of James' miseries if James only follows the instructions the old man has given him. These instructions require James to make a drink using the crystals, but since he is outside, he has no water with him. On his way to the house, James trips and spills all of the crystals. Before he can gather any of them back into his bag, they quickly disappear into the dirt under a peach tree. Devastated, James thinks he has lost his only chance to escape the horrible situation he must endure every day. Little does James know that the effects of these crystals will still end his miserable life with his aunts and transport him into another world.
Roald Dahl uses the talking, oversized insects to represent the various ingredients of a healthy life, which James was missing when living with his aunts. The Old-Green-Grasshopper represents a wise grandparent. The grasshopper often appears to be the leader and the ultimate authority among the insects. The night that James and the insects spend in the peach, the grasshopper tells everyone that it is time for bed (30). Also, when the spider is making beds for everyone, she makes a bed for the grasshopper first (31). This displays the respect typically given to grandparents. The spider represents the mother figure James had been lacking in his life for three years.
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