Today I have a very special review of James and the Giant Peach, my very favorite book by Roald Dahl. 2016 marks one hundred years since Roald Dahl's birth, so to celebrate Penguin has put together an epic blog tour full of reviews, excerpts, trivia and more, so be sure and check the bottom of the post for the full schedule!
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH
Source: Finished copy from publisher for review
THE STORY (from Goodreads)
When James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, 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. When James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit and crawls inside, he meets wonderful new friends--the Old-Green-Grasshopper, the dainty Ladybug, and the Centipede of the multiple boots. After years of feeling like an outsider in his aunts' house, James finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach household starts rolling away--and the adventure begins!
Roald Dahl's first and most widely celebrated book for young people continues to thrill readers around the world.
James and the Giant Peach is the first book I can remember reading on my own. I'm sure I read shorter children's books on my own and I know my parents read to me all the time, but this is the first book I can remember choosing for myself and then settling into the corner of our couch to read. It doesn't take a huge mental leap to attribute my love for all things paranormal and fantastical when it comes to fiction to James and his group of extraordinary friends.
It had been a solid twenty years since I'd read this book, and I'd quite honestly forgot how brutal it was. James is orphaned in the first few pages thanks to a freak rhinoceros accident, and subsequently moves in with an abusive pair of aunts who treat him like nothing more than dirt beneath their feet for years. Thankfully fate–and magic–intervenes in the form of small green crystals that cause a peach to grow to enormous size, break free from its branch, and carry young James and his human-sized insect friends off on an overseas adventure. Oh, and his aunts are squished dead by the peach as it rolls down a hill. Brutal indeed.
James is a resilient young man, enduring the verbal abuse and threats of physical violence from his aunts with a strength no person should have to develop at so young an age. Once free from his life of labor under his aunts' watchful eyes, he proves himself to be a problem solver under pressure, helping his newfound friends survive the journey to New York in terms of food as well as keeping their mode of transportation safe from those beasts, real and paranormal, that try to bring them down or impede their progress.
In addition to an over-the-top fun adventure, Mr. Dahl also works in some tidbits and facts about each of the insects aboard the peach, letting all those who read walk way with just a little extra knowledge than they had when they cracked the spine. Overall, James and the Giant Peach remains an outstanding read no matter the age of the reader, and it will forever be one of my very favorites.
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Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children's stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.
Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.
Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach - when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication of James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.
Roald Dahl also enjoyed great success for the screenplays he wrote for both the James Bond film You Only Live Twice in 1967 and for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, released one year later, which went on to become a beloved family film. Roald Dahl’s popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.
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September 5 - Peace Loves Books - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Excerpt
September 5 - The Compulsive Reader - Danny, The Champion of the World Review
September 5 - The Starry Eyed Revue - James and The Giant Peach Review
September 6 - Ex Libris Kate - The Witches Review
September 6 - Cracking The Cover - The Magic Finger Feature - Short Review and History
September 6 - Lost In Lit - The Witches Feature - Revisiting The Witches as an adult
September 7 - Cozy Reading Corner - Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator Excerpt
September 7 - The Plot Bunny - The Magic Finger Review
September 7 - Lilli's Reflections - The Twits Excerpt
September 8 - The Irish Banana - Matilda Review
September 8 - Ticket To Anywhere - Danny, The Champion of the World Excerpt
September 8 - Cuddlebuggery - Quentin Blake's Illustrations of Roald Dahl's Books Feature
September 8 - Beth Fish Reads - Going Solo Review
September 9 - Ravenous Reader - The BFG Excerpt
September 9 - Paper Cuts - The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me Excerpt
September 9 - The Lovely Books - The Witches Excerpt
September 9 - A Glass of Wine - James and the Giant Peach Excerpt
September 10 - Novel Novice - George's Marvelous Medicine Excerpt
September 10 - YA Bibliophile - Fantastic Mr. Fox Review
September 10 - Watercolor Moods - The Magic Finger Feature - Collage
September 11- Jessabella Reads - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Review
September 11- Who R U Blog - Charlie and the Glass Elevator Feature - Trivia
September 12 - Belle of the Library - The Twits Review
September 12 - Book Mania Life - George's Marvelous Medicine Review
September 12 - The Book Swarm - Danny, The Champion of the World Excerpt
September 12 - Book Belles - James and the Giant Peach Feature - Book to Movie
September 13- Roald's birthday! - Brittany's Book Rambles - Matilda Excerpt
September 13 - Roald's birthday! - Mundie Kids - The BFG Review
September 13 - Roald's birthday! - Read Now Sleep Later - Boy Excerpt
September 13 - Roald's birthday - Consumed By Books - Matilda Excerpt
September 13 - Roald's birthday - I Am A Reader - James and the Giant Peach Excerpt
September 13 - The Novel Life - Lessons that Roald Dahl has taught me feature
September 13 - The Book Rat - Esio Trot Excerpt
September 14 - Belle's Bash - The BFG Excerpt
September 14 - WinterHaven Books - Esio Trot Excerpt
September 14 - A Book and A Latte - The Magic Finger Excerpt
September 14 - Hello Chelly - Matilda Feature - BookBags
September 14 - Loving Dem Books - Youtube Feature
September 15 - Writing My Own Fairy-Tale - George's Marvelous Medicine Review
September 15 - The Book Bandit -The Giraffe, and the Pelly and Me Review
September 15 - Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile - Esio Trot Review
September 15 - Coffee, Books and Me - Top Ten Reasons You Should Read Roald Dahl's Books
September 16 - Undeniably Book Nerdy - Boy Review
September 16 - Supernatural Snark - James and the Giant Peach Review
September 16 - My Friend Amy - Going Solo Excerpt
September 16 - The Quiet Concert - Danny, the Champion of the World Review
September 17 - Book Briefs - Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
September 17 - Andi's ABCs - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Feature - ABCs
September 17 - Just Another Rabid Reader - The Magic Finger Review
September 17 - Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia - Roald Dahl Feature - Food Feature
September 18 - Bumbles and Fairy-Tales - Matilda Feature - Reading With Dad
September 18 - Addicted 2 Novels - Esio Trot Review
September 18 - Pure Imagination - Fantastic Mr. Fox Excerpt
September 18 - Green Bean Teen Queen - What Roald Dahl Means To Me Feature
September 19 - Bookiemoji - The Witches Excerpt
September 19 - Shooting Stars Blog - Roald Dahl Feature - Etsy Products
September 19 - Alexa Loves Books - Matilda Feature - Style Files
September 19 - Nightly Reading - Matilda Review