James & the Giant Peach was Roald Dahl’s second book for children. He wrote it in New York in the winter of 1960 after a stretch of 17 years in which he had written only short stories for adults. Dahl’s baby son, Theo, had a terrible accident while Dahl was writing this book, and he said that being able to disappear into this fantasy world for a few hours each day helped him through the crisis. Today, happily, both Theo and James are very much alive and well.
Roald Dahl died in 1990 at the age of 74.
This was the motto that he lived by:
My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night
But ah my foes and oh my friends
It gives a lovely light
The book in one sentence: An ordinary boy given an extraordinary adventure.
Who would you recommend it to: Little children who don’t mind bugs and have a taste for fantastical adventure.
OK bits: How James always manages to save the day. And his happy little ending.
Boring bits: The poems are creative and fun, but I don’t particularly care for them. The annoying Earthworm and Centipede.
Verdict: I didn’t enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed his other books. That said, it is typically Dahl and therefore it should be a good read for anybody.