Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mini Review: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Title: James and the Giant Peach
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Format: Paperback, 144 pages
Pub. Date: April 1st 1996
Source: Goodwill

Book Description:

A little magic can take you a long way...

Roald Dahl was a champion of the underdog and all things little—in this case, an orphaned boy oppressed by two nasty, self-centered aunts. How James escapes his miserable life with the horrible aunts and becomes a hero is a Dahlicious fantasy of the highest order. You will never forget resourceful little James and his new family of magically overgrown insects—a ladybug, a spider, a grasshopper, a glowworm, a silkworm, and the chronic complainer, a centipede with a hundred gorgeous shoes. Their adventures aboard a luscious peach as large as a house take them across the Atlantic Ocean, through waters infested with peach-eating sharks and skies inhabited by malevolent Cloudmen, to a ticker-tape parade in New York City.

This happily ever after contemporary fairy tale is a twentieth-century classic that every child deserves to know. And Lane Smith's endearingly funny illustrations are a perfect match for the text.



I was feeling nostalgic, and what better way to cure that than to read books that you remember from your childhood. This book will always have a special place in my heart, but it is a wee bit more problematic than I remember it.

First, the illustrations. I love them. They're in that distinct style that I associate with Roald Dahl. It's dark, almost creepy. And yet somehow, endearing and charming. It's exactly how I remember it.

The story is just as silly and fantastical as I remembered, but it's a little bit darker than memory served. For example, the bugs have a casual conversation about killing James's aunts. There's also some questionable racism, which was probably okay in the 60s when it was published but reading it again in 2018 ho boy is that troubling.

All in all, I don't know that I'll read it again, but it still made me smile and it still holds its own from when I was young, albeit a bit more concerning.


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