First Pages: James and the Giant Peach
First Pages/First Lines for James and the Giant Peach: I don't remember this book starting out so dark! Instead, what I think about whenever I think about this novel is the wonderful stop-motion animation that came out when I was in college. I was a huge fan of stop-motion animation (still am) and I absolutely loved the film.
I'm sure I read the book when I was little, but when I read the first chapter for our first lines series this month, all I could think about is how I'm not sure how a little one will keep reading after the first chapter because James' life sounds horrible. His parents die (by a rhino!) and his aunts treat him terribly. In fact, it makes me think of the adults in Matilda by Roald Dahl too....equally horrible. Though vastly entertaining in the musical theater version which we saw last year. Even better was the scene in front of the gate with building blocks with the kids emplying some parkour moves while singing and dancing. And the swings! They did an amazing job of incorporating the swings as playtime into a choreographed dance. Also unbelievably tricky but so much fun to watch.
Back to James, though his situation is horrible, the writing is good. (Of course it's good, it's Roald Dahl, which is why we're studying it for our own craft purposes.) And we know that James is somehow going to get away, right? Much like the young boy in our upcoming read-along, James will leave behind his guardians for a bit of a fantastical journey. In fact, there are many similarities between Harry Potter and James Henry Trotter in the first chapter. Parents dying quickly but horrifically, check! Guardianship to a rotten relative, check! Said relative calling him names and keeping him captive, check and check! But...the boys persevere and prosper.
Okay, so maybe even if it's a horrible situation, I'm intrigued enough to read on. Well done, Roald Dahl, well done.
Side note: I love the illustrations done by Quentin Blake in this Dahl series. Quirky and fun.
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
What's your favorite Roald Dahl novel? What about your favorite adaptation?