Book Review: Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach

Posted April 23, 2016 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews, Middle-Grade readers

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach


Roald Dahl

concept book, fantasy that was published by Alfred A. Knopf on September 10, 2002 and has 146 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Revolting Rhymes

This is a standalone novel for children that includes a bit of science with tolerance and adventure.

My Take

Well, it was cute, and I don’t really understand all the fuss people make about it. I suppose it was more controversial(?) when first published, and it is sweet — not just the peach!! — how everyone gets along as well as the positive ending, but it’s rather mild these days. You probably should read it, if only because it is considered a classic…one doesn’t want to be unknowledgeable, after all *she says primly (and with a grin)*

The best of it were the rhyming songs sung by all the major characters. Those were way too cute, and the kids would love ‘em! And I did enjoy the trip they unexpectedly take with all their encounters from sharks to seagulls to the Cloud Men. Who knew that’s how rainbows came to be?

It’s sweet how the critters all look to James to solve their problems. They are “incredible” feats, or should I say wings(?), with each of them looking after the other.

There is a wee bit of tension when it comes to the sharks, catching the seagulls to save themselves, and then the encounters with those mean Cloud Men, and I doubt that the effect of it will do more than leave the children worrying a bit until they fly free of it all. It’s just enough to make it a true adventure with dangers encountered and successfully evaded.

There are a number of opportunities for parents to discuss how the kids would handle such a situation, if the parent wants. The illustrations are nice although spare; they certainly wouldn’t be a primary reason to buy James and the Giant Peach.

It’s a bit of psychology, something of anatomy, a nod to Cinderella…and the Snozzwangers and Whangdoodles!

The Story

James is seven now and utterly miserable and lonely with his nasty, cheap, sluggards of aunts. It’s a little old man that gives James some hope. A hope that spills out on the ground.

He’ll never get away from his horrible, nasty aunts!

The Characters

James Henry Trotter was four years old when his parents died. Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker were all the family James had left. Poor soul.

Miss Spider who spins anything you like or need, the Old-Green-Grasshopper who makes such lovely music, the sweet Ladybug, that pest of a Centipede with his 100-, er, 49 pairs of boots, the wailing Earthworm, the lazy Silkworm who prefers to sleep, and the brilliant young Glow-worm are new friends James makes.

Daisy Entwhistle loses some skin on her nose. The crabby Cloud Men.

Alligator tongues are a critical moment in the story.

The Cover and Title

The cover is a light rust with a narrow double border of yellow framing the interior. The same peach is in the title while a much paler, maybe even white, makes up the author’s name as well as the illustrator’s. In the top half is an inset window with a border of the rust and another of white and inside is the whole crew standing on top of the giant peach while the seagulls hoist them away.

The title is quite literal, for it is James and the Giant Peach with his friends.