Cover image for James and the giant peach : a children's story
James and the giant peach : a children's story
Dahl, Roald.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York, N.Y. : Puffin Books, 1996.
Physical Description:
126 pages : illustrations ; 20 cm
Wonderful adventures abound after James escapes from his fearful aunts by rolling away inside a giant peach.
Reading Level:
870 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.8 4.0 232.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Mass Market Paperback Reading List
X Juvenile Mass Market Paperback Reading List
X Juvenile Mass Market Paperback Reading List
J FICTION Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



From the bestselling author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG !

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.

"All the gruesome imagery of old-fashioned fairy tales and a good measure of their breathtaking delight." -- Kirkus Reviews

"A stunning book, to be cherished for its story, a superb fantasy." -- The Chicago Tribune

"The most original fantasy that has been published in a long time...[it] may well become a classic." -- San Francisco Chronicle

Author Notes

Roald (pronounced "Roo-aal") was born in Llandaff, South Wales. He had a relatively uneventful childhood and was educated at Repton School. During World War II he served as a fighter pilot and for a time was stationed in Washington, D.C.. Prompted by an interviewer, he turned an account of one of his war experiences into a short story that was accepted by the Saturday Evening Post, which were eventually collected in Over to You (1946).

Dahl's stories are often described as horror tales or fantasies, but neither description does them justice. He has the ability to treat the horrible and ghastly with a light touch, sometimes even with a humorous one. His tales never become merely shocking or gruesome. His purpose is not to shock but to entertain, and much of the entertainment comes from the unusual twists in his plots, rather than from grizzly details.

Dahl has also become famous as a writer of children's stories. In some circles, these works have cased great controversy. Critics have charged that Dahl's work is anti-Semitic and degrades women. Nevertheless, his work continues to be read: Charlie and Chocolate Factory (1964) was made into a successful movie, The BFG was made into a movie in July 2017, and his books of rhymes for children continue to be very popular.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

James and the Giant Peach isn't Dahl's first book, but it is his first for children, and it suffers from some of the clunkiness of a debut. The introductions to James' bug companions are replete with didactic facts about insects and spiders, and Dahl glides over plot holes with an uneven pace, particularly when James and his friends encounter the Cloud Men, whose weather-making stymies the peach's seagull-propelled journey. The rhymes, which are so splendid in his later works, are occasionally haphazard. But, significantly, his moments of imaginative brilliance and iconic mean-spirited comedy are fantastic. The premise lonely orphan embarks on transatlantic flight on a piece of fruit with giant bug companions is a humdinger, and the sunshiney conclusion to the brilliant protagonist's travails is exactly the sort of happily-ever-after such a dreamlike fantasy requires. James' tyrannical aunts, Sponge and Spiker, are deliciously hateable, and their demise, when it finally arrives, is grotesque and gleefully gratifying. The lively banter among the bugs, particularly the salty bickering between Centipede and Worm, is particularly entertaining. Most of the novel's high points are glimmers of what makes Dahl's later works so great, and perhaps it's only through the lens of his body of work that those moments really shine. Though it might not hold up as well as some of his other children's novels, this one, reprinted here in a collectible hardcover with a charming peach-colored typeface, is notable for being his first and offering a tantalizing glimpse of the absurdity and black humor to come.--Hunter, Sarah Copyright 2016 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-The classic children's book by Roald Dahl ( Knopf, 1961) receives royal treatment in this terrific audiobook production. James Henry Trotter, a poor orphan, is being raised by two horrible aunts. Magic crystals change his humdrum existence, and soon he is off on a great adventure on a giant peach with new friends who are, to say the least, unique. There are sharks, seagulls, and irate cloud people to add interest along the way and, of course, Dahl's irreverent poetry. The story has always been a crowd-pleaser, and Jeremy Irons does more than read the story-he performs it. Each character has a unique voice, aptly suiting each personality, and Irons tells the story with humor and energy. Fans of Dahl will not be disappointed in this briskly paced tale that is a delight from beginning to end.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.