Top critical review
Not one of his best works
on 26 May 2016
It has been very many years since I last read this book and to be honest all I could remember about it was that it has a giant peach in it. I ended up rereading this book because I am currently trying to read every book Roald Dahl ever had published in publishing order (other than a few exceptions).
This book is about a young boy named James who lives with his two aunts, who are less than pleasant characters to say the least. We follow his whimsical adventure as he escapes them on a giant peach and he makes some wonderful new friends.
The first time I rated this book several years ago I gave it three stars and I find it interesting that after all this time my rating is staying the same. This was a cute fun read, which is ideal for children who are just starting to move onto chapter books because each chapter is very short and there are plenty of wonderful illustrations thrown in too.
I love many of Roald Dahl's children's books but, sadly this is one of my least favourites. I feel that you can tell it is one of his earliest works because his writing is missing that something that is present in his more popular works such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The plot itself is okay, but didn't really grab me as much as his other works have in the past. James is an interesting character overall, but comes across as a little flat to me, though I love many of the other characters such as the Ladybird and Miss Spider. The plot is also very unbelievable, a child and many insects travelling on a giant peach across the ocean to New York, though this is something that actually works very well. Somehow, Roald Dahl always manages to pull off the unbelievable and ridiculous and make it believable.
One of the things I loved most about this book, was that there are many cute songs and rhymes which made me laugh out loud. One particularly great one is about James' fat aunt, which had me laughing so much I just had to share it with my partner who was sat next to me while I was reading. Another thing I thought was wonderful, was that there are lessons in here for children such as taking care of our wildlife such as insects. I found one section particularly moving where the spider talks about how her father got washed down the plug hole never to be seen again. She then goes on to say that she doesn't understand why her family have been treated so badly, when all they do is good for humans, such as catching flies. I thought this was such a wonderful message to send to children because, we are unnecessarily scared of spiders as a society in this day and age, so if we can teach children at a young age to not be scared and to either leave them be, or to take them outside carefully then this is a wonderful lesson.
While this is one of my least favourite Roald Dahl books, it is still a great one and an excellent place for younger children to start. I'd highly recommend this book to adults if they have read most of his other works and not this one, as you will still enjoy it. I wouldn't pick this up as your first Roald Dahl book if you are an adult though, as he has many better novels. I think this is an excellent place for young children to start though.