James and the Giant Peach is a popular children’s novel written in 1961 by British author Roald Dahl. The original first edition published by Alfred Knopf featured illustrations by Nancy Ekholm Burkert. However, there have been various reillustrated versions of it over the years, done by Michael Simeon for the first British edition, Emma Chichester Clark, Lane Smith and Quentin Blake. It was adapted into a film of the same name in 1996. The plot centres on a young English orphan boy who enters a gigantic, magical peach, and has a wild and surreal cross-world adventure with six magically-altered garden bugs he meets. Roald Dahl was originally going to write about a giant cherry, but changed it to James and the Giant Peach because a peach is “prettier, bigger and squishier than a cherry.”
Because of the story’s occasional macabre and potentially frightening content, it has become a regular target of the censors and is No. 56 on the American Library Association’s top 100 list of most frequently challenged books.
A little magic can take you a long way.
After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!
Publisher’s Weekly said that Lane Smith trades stinky cheese for fantastic fruit with his black-and-white illustrations for Roald Dahl’s classic 1961 novel, James and the Giant Peach. The reissue is timed to coincide with the release of the Disney animated motion picture based on Smith’s suitably subversive visual interpretation.
“The classic children’s book by Roald Dahl ( Knopf, 1961) receives royal treatment in this terrific audiobook production, according to School Library Journal. “James Henry Trotter, a poor orphan, is being raised by two horrible aunts. Magic crystals change his humdrum existence, and soon he is off on a great adventure on a giant peach with new friends who are, to say the least, unique. There are sharks, seagulls, and irate cloud people to add interest along the way and, of course, Dahl’s irreverent poetry. The story has always been a crowd-pleaser, and Jeremy Irons does more than read the story-he performs it. Each character has a unique voice, aptly suiting each personality, and Irons tells the story with humor and energy. Fans of Dahl will not be disappointed in this briskly paced tale that is a delight from beginning to end.”
Roald Dahl’s site has James and The Giant Peach lesson plans:
James and the Giant Peach was the first of Roald Dahl’s well-known children’s stories that he completed. It was first published in 1961, and tells the story of James Henry Trotter and his horrible aunts – and how some magic beans, a peach tree and a collection of interesting insects conspire to change his life.
It’s those awful aunts that have inspired this lesson plan, which invites students to have some fun with similes as they invent a new relative for James.
This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl.
James and the Giant Peach is the story of a young boy who escapes an abusive home in a magical peach. Along the way, he makes new friends, and discovers the joys of freedom and friendship, which had previously been alien ideas to him.
At the opening of the novel, James is living with his two terrible aunts after an accident at the zoo claimed the lives of both his parents. Upon moving in with his aunts, James’ life of abuse begins immediately. His aunts treat him terribly, forcing him to work all day long, denying him any friends or schooling, and calling him names. James is terribly surprised then, when he finds a mysterious old man hiding in the bushes. The man gives James a bag full of magic beans and warns him to be very careful with them as they are extremely powerful. While he is running back to his house, James trips and spills the beans in his Aunts’ garden. The beans immediately burrow their way into the ground and produce a massive peach at the top of the peach tree. When no one is around, James sneaks up to the peach and finds a magical tunnel there. He climbs inside and is greeted by a host of giant insects, including a Grasshopper, a Ladybug, a Spider, and a Centipede. Through the course of their journey, these insects become James’ closest friends.
This is a Common Core Standards aligned literature unit to be used with James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. This is a complete novel study that includes many individual products bundled together to offer you extensive savings! This unit also includes additional writing activities, teacher plans, and CCSS alignment that you cannot find in the individual components. This complete novel study is by far your best value!
This unit from the Teachers Pay Teachers site is designed to be used with some student/instructor interaction, but can easily be used as an independent study for the student. It is written for the 3-5th grade reading level.
This unit works great in a one-on-one setting for home school or for a teacher to use as a resource in the classroom for a small group or entire class. The unit is designed so that you can start teaching immediately with little to no preparation on your part. Great time saver!
This unit contains:
Teacher Packet containing:
•Detailed daily lesson plans
Student Packet containing:
• Vocabulary activities for 52 words.
• Comprehension questions for every chapter.
•Extension activities that correlate with the book. **Only available in this complete Novel Study Product!
An Assessment Packet that contains:
•A comprehension quiz in both a short answer and multiple choice format
An End of the Book Activity Packet that can be used with any book.
A Story Elements Interactive Notebook Activity Packet that can be used with any book.
Common Core Standards Alignment for grades 3-5. This is included at the end of the unit so if you do not need it you can easily discard without changing the unit itself. To see how this is set up please see the free preview for the CCSS checklist in its entirety.