Continuing my year of classic reading, I’ve delved in for a second helping of Roald Dahl. This is a beautiful little read that unflinching shows the life of a good kid in a bad situation. After the death of his parents James is moved to the care of two selfish and abusive Aunts. They use James as slave labor and keep him isolated from other children and even school.
One night a strange little man comes upon James and gives him a bag of magic wiggly things and instructions on how to use them. Unfortunately James trips on the way back home and the magic squirms deep in to the roots of a dead tree.
The next morning a small peach is discovered by the vicious Aunts. Before their eyes the peach grows larger and larger.The Aunts immediately decide to sell tickets to those curious to see the peach, which leads to more work for poor James. One night however James notices a strange little door in the peach and enters it. Inside James find that the magic has worked on a group of insects giving them a larger size and the ability to speak. They are all very excited to see James and immediately decide it’s time to leave! The stem is snapped and the group begins its adventures by land and sea until they find their place in the world.
I really loved this book! Somehow I missed out on reading Dahl as a child and I’m enjoying my second childhood in his various narrative worlds. This is a must read, though there are a few bits that may be scary for really little ones. The artist Lane Smith produces fascinating illustrations that will be familiar to those who have seen the movie.