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James and the Giant Peach – Project for Children and Parents

From: The Librarian’s Complete Guide to Involving Parents Through Children’s Literature Grades K-6 by Anthony D. Fredericks.


Story Summary

One day James gets a bag of magic crystals that will free him from life with his horrible aunts. In his excitement, James drops the bag, and the crystals are sucked into the ground around the old peach tree. Something magical begins to happen to a peach at the tip of the tree – something that will truly change his life.

Discussion Questions

  1. Would you want to have Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker as your aunts? Why?
  2. If you were to write a letter to Roald Dahl, what would you write?
  3. What would you have done if the old man had given you the magic crystals?
  4. What might have happened if the cloud men had caught the peach?

Activities

  • Help your child collect as many creatures in the story as possible (e.g., centipede, spider, earthworm, glow worm). Your child may want to make a temporary terrarium in a large glass bottle (a clean mayonnaise jar with moist soil, twigs, and grass works well). Have your child observe the habits of the creatures over a period of five days (Insects as Pets by Paul Villiard is a useful guide for taking care of insects). After five days, release the creatures to their original environments.
  • Ask your child to think of creative ways to use the creatures in your home. For example, a glow worm could be used as a night light for reading. Have your child illustrate these uses in a “Creature Guidebook.”
  • Your child may enjoy making peaches and cream (see recipe below).

PEACHES AND CREAM

Large box (6 oz.) apricot gelatin
1 quart sliced peaches
Small tub (4 oz.) whipped topping
1 cup sugar

Make gelatin in an 8-by-8-inch pan. When set, cut into small cubes. Sprinkle sugar over the peaches. Fold whipped topping and peaches into cubed gelatin and chill.