What is a summary of "James and the Giant Peach"?


Quick Answer

Roald Dahl's children's book "James and the Giant Peach" leads the protagonist, James Henry Trotter, from the death of his parents to the top of the Empire State Building. The novel, which was first published in 1961, is known for its dark, occasionally macabre elements. However, it remains a classic piece of children's literature.

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Full Answer

In the beginning of the book, young James is living with his parents in a cottage by the sea off of south England. However, his parents are soon eaten by a rhinoceros, forcing James to live with his two mean aunts whose home is a ramshackle building in Dover.

After suffering from his aunts' physical and verbal abuse for three years, James stumbles upon an elderly man who offers the boy a sack of crocodile tongues. He tells James to mix the tongues with water and 10 of his own hairs to create a magic potion that is guaranteed to bring him joy and adventure.

On his way back to his aunts' home, James falls and spills the contents of the sack onto the peach tree outside the house. Later, the tree grows a giant peach the size of a house. The aunts lock James away in their home. However, when they send him outside to pick up garbage left over from a crowd that had gathered around the peach, he enters the large fruit and encounters a large, talking earthworm and centipede.

James and the peach's inhabitants set the peach in motion. It flattens the aunts and rolls through villages before landing in the sea. After an eventful journey across the Atlantic, during which the peach and its inhabitants escape several dicey situations, the party and peach end up on top of the Empire State Building.

The people of New York City accept James and his friends, offering them a parade and introducing them to thousands of playmates.

James spends the rest of his life playing with his friends and living in a mansion, formerly the hollowed-out core of the peach, in Central Park.

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