Contents of blog copyright Book Dragon's Lair 2009-2017
It's been an interesting year so far. I've lost both my Moms. My mother died in January after a long decline. Soon after, my Mother-in-Law went in for bypass surgery. While her heart healed, other issues zapped her strength and she died April 22.

I may have challenge update posts but I don't know when I'll be posting regularly or when I'll get to visit everyone who is working on the challenges I'm hosting.

Monday, July 20, 2009

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach
Roald Dahl, author
Quentin Blake, illustrator

This edition -
publisher: Puffin Books
release date: August 16, 2007
format: paperback
pages: 160


I'll admit that this is not what I thought I'd be reading this year but I needed a banned or challenged book and James and the Giant Peach is short ;-) The book may have been banned from school and/or public libraries across the USA but as of July 18, Amazon.com's sales rank is 2,268. It is #1 when looking for Roald Dahl and #52 in humorous children's books. How can this be? When books are removed from libraries parents must buy them.

A personal note about censorship. I don't really mind that you don't allow your child to read specific books just don't tell me MY CHILD, or myself, can't read a specific book. There is a place for every book and I can see why some might be upset about some of them but really now. Just tell your child not to check it out at the library. It is not the teacher or the librarian's job – or the School Board - to monitor for you. I myself am guilty of censorship. I asked my kids not to check out "The Stupids" or any of the books in the series. Why? It was a word that we did not allow to be spoken in our home. I didn't want my kids reading it throughout the whole book. Did I make a big deal out of? No. Did I demand the books be removed from the library? No. I think it helps that I was a volunteer in the library, and had access to the books to read myself and to question the librarian. The Goosebumps series was one of my favorites and I recommended them to many fifth grade boys - you know, the one that only checked out a magazine because their teacher said they had to get something. No one ever told me it was bad that their child was reading a book. Here’s the thing, if your child’s school librarian won’t talk to you about the books that your child has access too, maybe you need to volunteer and find out for yourself. All of us want our tax dollars to purchase the best books but find out what your school administration thinks are “best books”.

...stepping off my soapbox....

James and the Giant Peach starts by telling us how wonderful James’ life was by the sea. He "lived peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house beside the sea. There were always plenty of other children for him to play with...It was the perfect life for a small boy."

When he was four, his parents went shopping in London were they were “eaten by an enormous angry rhinoceros which had escaped from the London Zoo”. Eaten mind you, not just killed. Leaving him to be sent to live with his aunts. So James becomes the drudge. Two aunts, many chores, no children to play with, very little play time, no toys, no leaving the garden, sometimes no food. And he meets a man with magic. And the songs?

A Gnu and a Gnocerous surely you'll see And that gnormous and gnorrible Gnat Whose sting when it stings you goes in at the knee and comes out through the top of your hat.

Yes, I can see where people would complain, it sounds just like a Disney movie. (by the way, that was sarcasm)


Mr. Dahl's first stories were written for his own children. Can you see him in a comfortable chair with his children and maybe a neighbor or two sitting on the floor in front of him? I'm sure he slapped his hands on the chair and bounced, just a bit, when the peach ran over James' aunts leaving them "ironned out upon the grass as flat and thin and lifeless as a couple of paper dolls cut out of a picture book."

Mr. Dahl died in 1990. The edition that I have was published in 2007. That is the extent of his popularity. May it live on forever.


Puffin books by Roald Dahl

The BFG
Boy: Tales of Childhood
Charlie and the Chocolate Factor
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
Danny the Champion of the World
Dirty Beasts
The Enormous Crocodile
Esio Trot
Fantastic Mr. Fox
George's Marvelous Medicine
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
Going Solo
James and the Giant Peach
The Magic Finger
Matilda
The Minpins
Roald Dahls Revolting Rhymes
The Twits
The Vicar of Nibbeswicke
The Witches
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More

recognize any favorites?

He also wrote adult novels, the only one I own is My Uncle Oswald, picked up because of the cover (legs!) and purchased because I thought it would be funny - "Uncle Oswald makes Casanova look like Winnie the Pooh"
Disclaimer

In accordance to the FTC guidelines, I must state that I make no monetary gains from my reviews or endorsements here on Book Dragon's Lair. All books I review are either borrowed, purchased by me, given as a gift, won in some kind of contest, or received in exchange for an honest review.