#39 James and the Giant Peach

Paperback |150 pages

Publisher: Penguin Random House UK (2016, as part of a set of 15 books)

Read – Thursday 14th May, 2020.

I’m pretty sure I read this as a kid, but I can’t be 100% certain. It’s definitely one of Roald Dahl’s stories that I know more. There’s a lovely poem in the book that I’ve always loved. It was good to read it again in context (I’ll post it below somewhere).

It’s a Roald Dahl book, they’re made to be easily read. I had no difficulty with this, but I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed reading this and how much it made me laugh.

As a child I remember feeling sorry for James but as an adult, I admire that he made the best of the situation handed to him. He showed bravery, strength, creativity, empathy, compassion and confidence and embodied the role given to him.

Very easy to visualise, between the illustrations and my own imagination, a pretty picture was painted.

You know, I’d actually completely forgotten how this book ended! It brought me great joy to rediscover it again. The thing that I love most about this book are the poems. They’re so amusing and inserted just at the right time to make the most of the situation. See my favourite below:

‘I look and smell’ Aunt Sponge declared, ‘as lovely as a rose!
Just feast your eyes upon my face, observe my shapely nose!
Behold my heavenly silky locks!
And if I take off both my socks
You’ll see my dainty toes.’
‘But don’t forget,’ Aunt Spiker cried, ‘how much your tummy shows!’

Aunt Sponge went red. Aunt Spiker said, ‘My sweet, you cannot win,
Behold MY gorgeous curvy shape, my teeth, my charming grin!
Oh, beauteous me! How I adore
My radiant looks! And please ignore
The Pimple on my chin.’
‘My dear old trout!’ Aunt Sponge cried out. ‘You’re only bone and skin!’

‘Such loveliness as I possess can only truly shine in Hollywood!’ Aunt Sponge declared: ‘Oh, wouldn’t that be fine!
I’d capture all the nations’ hearts!
They’d give me all the leading parts!
The stars would all resign!’
‘I think you’d make,’ Aunt Spiker said, ‘a lovely Frankenstein.’

I am greatly enjoying this journey to rediscovering Roald Dahl classics and James and the Giant Peach was no expectation to this. I found myself absorbed as the story took shape, and like I said above, I greatly enjoyed the poems. The memory I had of the ending of this book was far different than the actual ending, but it was a rather nice surprise.

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