Thursday, April 11, 2013

A Z Challenge: J is for James

James as in James and the Giant Peach.  We already discussed the author, Roald Dahl, in a previous post so we will only discuss the book (and maybe the movie) in this post today.

When poor James Henry Trotter loses his parents in a horrible rhinoceros accident, he is forced to live with his two wicked aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker.  After three years he becomes "the saddest and loneliest boy you could find." Then one day, a wizened old man in a dark-green suit gives James a bag of magic crystals that promise to reverse his misery forever.  When James accidentally spills the crystals on his aunts' withered peach tree, he sets the adventure in motion.  From the old tree a single peach grows, and grows, and grows some more, until finally James climbs inside the giant fruit and rolls away from his despicable aunts to a whole new life.  James befriends an assortment of hilarious characters, including Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider, and Centipde--each with his or her own song to sing.  Roald Dahl's rich imagery and amusing characters ensure that parents will not tire of reading this classic aloud, which they will no doubt be called to do over and over again!
Ten Facts About the Book:

  • Published in 1961 (typo in D is for Dahl has it listed as 1943.  Has been corrected).
  • Roald Dahl's second children's book.
  • Originally titled James and the Giant Cherry but Dahl changed it because a peach is "bigger, prettier, and squishier" than a cherry.
  • Currently #56 on ALA's Top 100 List of Most Frequently Challenged Books.
  • References Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  When the peach rolls off the tree it rolls past "a famous chocolate factory." Towards the end, the creatures living in the peach are thought to be names of creatures that live in Loompaland.  Original illustration of the factory has the word "WONKA" on the side.
  • Film released April 12, 1996.
  • Took 12 years to get the book-to-film released.  Dahl declined a film made in his lifetime, but his widow, Liccy (Felicity Crosman), approved of this version.
  • Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 93% rating based on 58 reviews.
  • Film nominated for Academy Award for Best Music, Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (Randy Newman).
  • Film won Annecy International Animated Film Festival Best Animated Feature Film.

For more information check out the following sites:
Roald Dahl Official Website
Wikipedia: James and the Giant Peach (film) James and the Giant Peach: A Play
Fun Trivia: James and the Giant Peach
Wikipedia: James and the Giant Peach
The Big Cartoon Database: James and the Giant Peach
IMDB: James and the Giant Peach
Goodreads: James and the Giant Peach

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