James and the Giant Peach
Author: Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Grade Level Equivalent:
Guided Reading Level:
Adventure, Classics, Comedy and Humor, Fantasy
Leadership and Responsibility, Just Rewards, Magic and Supernatural
First published in 1961, James and the Giant Peach remains a favorite for young readers decades later. In it, young James Henry Trotter loses his parents and is forced to live with his evil aunts. Luckily, he is given magic crystals, which he accidentally spills on his aunts' decrepit peach tree. One of the peaches begins to grow, and grow, and grow. Finally, James climbs into the peach and it rolls away from his aunts' yard and his miserably lonely life. With the giant peach, he begins a new life, making friends along the way with hilarious characters like the Grasshopper and the Earthworm.
Dahl's use of rich imagery and amusing characters brings this outrageously imaginative tale alive. Readers will tremble when they first meet Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, and will feel a tremendous thrill when the peach takes off and James begins his journey. The words and images virtually jump off the page. A wonderful choice for reluctant readers, this story is a treasure that begs to be read over and over again.