James and the Giant Peach

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James and the Giant Peach.
JamesAndTheGiantPeach.jpg
First edition (US)
Author Roald Dahl
Illustrator
CountryUnited Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Genre Children's novel, Fantasy
Publisher Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Publication date
1961
Media type Hardcover
Pages160
OCLC 50568125
[Fic] 21
LC Class PZ8.D137 Jam 2002

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. There have been 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.

Roald Dahl British novelist, short story writer, poet, fighter pilot, and screenwriter

Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, poet, screenwriter, and fighter pilot. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide.

Nancy Ekholm Burkert is an American artist and illustrator. Her most celebrated work is the picture book Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1972), which was a New York Times Notable Book and a Caldecott Honor Book.

Emma Elizabeth Clark is a British children's book illustrator and author. She has published over 60 books and is best known for her series of picture books about a child's toy called Blue Kangaroo.

Contents

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 seven 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." [1] [2]

Peach a type of fruit tree, or its fruit

The peach is a deciduous tree native to the region of Northwest China between the Tarim Basin and the north slopes of the Kunlun Mountains, where it was first domesticated and cultivated. It bears an edible juicy fruit called a peach or a nectarine.

Cherry Fruit of some plants of the genus Prunus

A cherry is the fruit of many plants of the genus Prunus, and is a fleshy drupe.

Because of the story's occasional macabre and potentially frightening content, it has become a regular target of censors. [3] [4]

Macabre that which has a grim or ghastly atmosphere

In works of art, the adjective macabre means "having the quality of having a grim or ghastly atmosphere". The macabre works to emphasize the details and symbols of death. The term also refers to works particularly gruesome in nature.

Summary

James Henry Trotter is a four-year-old boy who lives with his parents in a house by the sea. When James' parents are killed by a rhinoceros, the orphaned James is forced to live with his two abusive aunts, Spiker and Sponge. They treat him badly, feed him improperly and force him to sleep on bare floorboards.

One day, after an argument with his aunts, he meets a mysterious man who gives him green beans and says that if he would drink it his life would be full of adventures. While going to his home he falls and the beans spill on a peach tree which produces a single peach and it grows to the size of a house. Spiker and Sponge build fences around it and earn money by selling tickets to tourists and they get to see the peach. But James is locked in his house and sees the peach through the bars of the window.

James is assigned to clean the trash and finds a tunnel in the peach and goes through it and meets Centipede, Miss Spider, Old Green Grasshopper, Earthworm, Ladybug, Glowworm and Silkworm who become his friends.

The next day, Centipede cuts the stem of the peach which rolls down and kills the aunts and reaches the sea. Sharks surround it. James uses Miss Spider and Silkworm to make threads. Then he uses Earthworm as bait and draws 500 seagulls near the peach and ties the threads on their necks. Then the peach starts flying and Centipede falls down but is later rescued by James. The peach goes into the clouds and meet cloudmen demons. Then Centipede mocks them which makes them angry and they start throwing hailstones at the peach. James manages to pull the peach down on the lower part of the sky and realizes that they have reached New York City. People think it was a bomb and warn the others to evacuate.

Then officers and firemen arrive and see the peach and some faint. Then James comes and tells the whole story and becomes friends with many children in New York and they eat the peach and James and his friends get their own jobs.

Characters

Centipede class of many-legged arthropods with elongated bodies

Centipedes are predatory arthropods belonging to the class Chilopoda of the subphylum Myriapoda, an arthropod group which also includes millipedes and other multi-legged creatures. Centipedes are elongated metameric creatures with one pair of legs per body segment. Most centipedes are generally venomous and could inflict a painful bite, injecting their venom through pincer-like appendage known as forcipules. Despite the name, centipedes can have a varying number of legs, ranging from 30 to 354. Centipedes always have an odd number of pairs of legs. Therefore, no centipede has exactly 100 legs. Similar to spiders and scorpions, centipedes are predominantly carnivorous.

Earthworm suborder of tube-shaped, segmented annelids

An earthworm is a tube-shaped, segmented worm found in the phylum Annelida. They have a world-wide distribution and are commonly found living in soil, feeding on live and dead organic matter. An earthworm's digestive system runs through the length of its body. It conducts respiration through its skin. It has a double transport system composed of coelomic fluid that moves within the fluid-filled coelom and a simple, closed blood circulatory system. It has a central and a peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of two ganglia above the mouth, one on either side, connected to a nerve cord running back along its length to motor neurons and sensory cells in each segment. Large numbers of chemoreceptors are concentrated near its mouth. Circumferential and longitudinal muscles on the periphery of each segment enable the worm to move. Similar sets of muscles line the gut, and their actions move the digesting food toward the worm's anus.

Grasshopper Common name for a group of insects

Grasshoppers are a group of insects belonging to the suborder Caelifera. They are among what is probably the most ancient living group of chewing herbivorous insects, dating back to the early Triassic around 250 million years ago.

Film adaptations

A television adaptation of the novel appeared on BBC One on December 28, 1976. Paul Stone directed a script by Trever Preston. The cast included Simon Bell playing James, Bernard Cribbins playing Centipede, and Anna Quayle playing Aunt Spiker. [5]

BBC One is the first and flagship television channel of the BBC in the United Kingdom, Isle of Man and Channel Islands. It was launched on 2 November 1936 as the BBC Television Service, and was the world's first regular television service with a high level of image resolution. It was renamed BBC TV in 1960, using this name until the launch of the second BBC channel BBC2 in 1964, whereupon the BBC TV channel became known as BBC1, with the current spelling adopted in 1997.

Bernard Cribbins English character actor, voice-over artist and musical comedian

Bernard Joseph Cribbins, OBE is an English character actor, comedy actor, voice-over artist and musical comedian with a career spanning over seventy years. He came to prominence in films of the 1960s, and has been in work consistently since his professional debut in the mid-1950s. In Britain, he was best known for his successful novelty records in the early 1960s, especially "Right Said Fred", but in the 2000s he gained new fame for his appearances in Doctor Who.

Anne Veronica Maria Quayle, known professionally as Anna Quayle, was an English actress. In 1963, she received a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in the original production of Stop the World – I Want to Get Off.

Though Roald Dahl declined numerous offers during his lifetime to have a film version of James and the Giant Peach produced, his widow, Liccy Dahl, approved an offer to have a film adaptation produced in conjunction with Disney in the mid-1990s. [6] It was directed by Henry Selick and produced by Denise Di Novi and Tim Burton, both of whom previously produced The Nightmare Before Christmas . The movie consists of live action and stop-motion to reduce production finances. [7] It was narrated by Pete Postlethwaite (who also played the wizard). The film was released on 12 April 1996. [8] Though it was a box office flop, it received positive reviews and eventually became a cult classic.

A film adaptation is the transfer of a work or story, in whole or in part, to a feature film. Although often considered a type of derivative work, film adaptation has been conceptualized recently by academic scholars such as Robert Stam as a dialogic process.

Henry Selick American filmmaker

Charles Henry Selick is an American stop motion director, producer, and writer who is best known for directing the stop-motion animation films The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993), James and the Giant Peach (1996), and Coraline (2009). He studied at the Program in Experimental Animation at California Institute of the Arts, under the guidance of Jules Engel.

A film producer is a person who oversees film production. Either employed by a production company or working independently, producers plan and coordinate various aspects of film production, such as selecting the script; coordinating writing, directing, and editing; and arranging financing.

There are numerous changes in both the plot of the film and the plot of the book, though the film was generally well received. Liccy Dahl said that, "I think Roald would have been delighted with what they did with James." [6] Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a positive review, praising the animated part, but calling the live-action segments "crude." [9] The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Musical or Comedy Score (by Randy Newman). It won Best Animated Feature Film at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival.

In August 2016, Sam Mendes was revealed to be in negotiations with Disney to direct another live action adaptation of the novel, [10] with Nick Hornby in talks for the script. [11] In May 2017, however, Mendes was no longer attached to the project due to him entering talks with Disney about directing a live-action film adaptation of Pinocchio . [12]

Musical adaptation

The book was made into a musical with music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul and book by Timothy Allen McDonald. The musical had its premiere at Goodspeed Musicals on October 21, 2010 and is currently produced in regional and youth theatre. [13] [14]

Editions

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References

  1. Roald Dahl Fact Sheet: Puffin play ground Puffin Books
  2. Clarie Heald (11 June 2005) "Chocolate doors thrown open to Dahl". BBC News
  3. The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000. American Library Association .
  4. "Why is China banning Winnie the Pooh and other foreign picture books?". Newsweek .
  5. "James and the Giant Peach - BBC One London - 28 December 1976". BBC Genome.
  6. 1 2 Roberts, Chloe; Darren Horne. "Roald Dahl: From Page to Screen". close-upfilm.com. Archived from the original on 4 February 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  7. Evans, Noah Wolfgram. "Layers: A Look at Henry Selick" . Retrieved 12 December 2008.
  8. "James And The Giant Peach". bcdb.com, 23 March 2011
  9. Gleiberman, Owen (19 April 1996). "PITS A WONDERFUL LIFE". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 12 December 2008.
  10. "Sam Mendes in Talks to Direct Disney's Live-Action 'James and the Giant Peach'". Variety. 25 August 2016. Retrieved 31 August 2016.
  11. "Sam Mendes, Nick Hornby in talks for live-action 'James and the Giant Peach'". Entertainment Weekly.
  12. "Sam Mendes in Early Talks to Direct 'Pinocchio' Live-Action Movie". Variety. 22 May 2017. Retrieved 22 May 2017. Mendes will no longer direct the “James and the Giant Peach” remake for Disney, which he was attached to less than a year ago.
  13. Jones, Kenneth (21 October 2010). "James and the Giant Peach, the Musical, Blossoms with the Help of Pilobolus, Oct. 21". Playbill. Retrieved 12 September 2016.
  14. Gioia, Michael (22 April 2015). "Watch Skylar Astin and Megan Hilty Record Pasek and Paul's James and the Giant Peach! (Video)". Playbill. Retrieved 12 September 2016.