Review: James & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant PeachJames & the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Published by: Puffin Books
Genres: Children’s, Fiction
Format: Paperback
Pages: 146
Rating: 2
Date Read: 2/04/17
Links: Goodreads | Booktopia | Book Depository | Amazon

A little magic can take you a long way.

After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and 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. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

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 humour. This book is about a young boy named James who lives with his two aunts, who are less than pleasant characters to say the least. We follow his whimsical adventure as he escapes them on a giant peach and he makes some wonderful new friends.

I love many of Roald Dahl’s children’s books but, sadly this is one of my least favourites. I feel that you can tell it is one of his earliest works because his writing is missing that something that is present in his more popular works such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The plot itself is okay, but didn’t really grab me as much as his other works have in the past. James is an interesting character overall, but comes across as a little flat to me. The plot is also very unbelievable, a child and many insects travelling on a giant peach across the ocean to New York, though this is something that actually works very well. Somehow, Roald Dahl always manages to pull off the unbelievable and ridiculous and make it believable.

“There are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven’t started wondering about yet.”

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