30.1.12

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by Roald Dahl





James is a little English boy  who had lived by the seaside with his beloved parents until they got eaten by an 'enormous angry rhino escaped from the London Zoo'.

He was sent to live with his two horrible aunts: Aunt Sponge, fat and lazy, and Aunt Spiker, bony and cruel. 

Their house was ramshackle, set on top of a high hill and surrounded by a big garden, where James was practically a prisoner for years.

He was absolutely alone and desperate when, one day, he ran away to the edge of the garden, and right there an old man gave him a bag with tiny green things that James was supposed to eat to finally end his miserable life. 

But he stumbled over the old peach tree's root, dropping the entire content of the bag that disappeared in a few seconds into the ground. 

The very next day something awesome happened: on the top of the old peach tree, that never had produced a single fruit, a peach suddenly appeared that, in less than one day, grew up and reached the volume of a house!

One night James found a hole in the skin of the massive fruit and… Enormous friendly insects and exciting adventures finally flew him toward a new happy life across the Ocean!

This book is worth to reading for at least  3 different reasons.
First of all, the story is founded on few basic Propp's functions that bring the young reader from an initial status of unhappiness of the hero (James) to an happy ending thanks to a magic gift given to him by a mentor. The hero makes new friends that will join and help him  through many adventures with characters like sharks and stormy Cloud-Men.  

You can also find many nice and funny rhymes in it and we all know how much important they are to developing reading skills and phonetics.

Finally it teaches children about insects: the Grasshopper, the Centipede, the Spider, the Earthworm, the Glow-worm, the Silkworm and the Ladybird.
They will discover who is useful to agriculture and who is a pest, why only certain kinds of grasshopper can play beautiful melodies, how many legs a centipede really has,  several uncorrected beliefs about them and much more! 

So enjoy the reading and, if you are a teacher, here you can find some really useful activities based on the book, designed by Nancy Polette:



Read more book reviews:

MOMO by Michael Ende

AROUND THE WORLD IN EIGHTY DAYS by Jules Verne

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