This review was written by Alice Dalgliesh and printed in the February 17, 1962 edition of The Saturday Review.
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. By Roald Dahl. Illustrated by Nancy Burkert. Knopf. 128 pp. $3.95. To travel from England to America is quite an adventure for a small boy, especially if he does it in a giant peach in company with several enormous insects. Some children may find it an exciting and rambunctious fantasy. However, one thing children are not tough-minded about is losing parents suddenly, and at the beginning of this story James’s parents are eaten by a large rhinoceros escaped from the zoo, “their troubles over in thirty-five seconds flat.” Now James’s troubles begin, for he goes to stay with Aunt Spike and Aunt Sponge, two of the meanest characters in any child’s book. A giant peach grows in their garden and into this James crawls. The aunts are flattened by the peach as it starts on its journey. The grown-ups being neatly disposed of, adventures begin, ending in New York with the inevitable ticker-tape parade. Attractive pictures, some in color, soften the story considerably. Ages 8-12.