Reviews for James and the Giant Peach


Horn Book Magazine Reviews 2004 #2
Hold the violins. As if to remind us of just what we will be missing, the latest--and last--issue of Signal: Approaches to Children's Books positively crackles with new thinking and lively writing. Comprising three issues, this jumbo-sized final number could in itself serve as a textbook for a semester's graduate study in children's literature. In articles on the fairy tale and the picture book, for example, Hugh Crago and Jane Doonan attend closely to basic questions of structure (Crago) and picture design (Doonan) in ways that not only illuminate their chosen texts but provide critical models for looking at these genres. If you find your students growing a bit complacent, you might steer them toward Anne Fine's Patrick Hardy Lecture (where she demonstrates little patience for grown-up Harry Potter fans) or Richard Flynn's piece on contemporary children's poetry (where he demonstrates little patience for the current vogue for novels-in-verse). And for his part, Alan Tucker would seem to have little patience with Richard Flynn, but Tucker's essay (a broadside against received poetic tradition) and Flynn's both gain by their inclusion together here. There are seventeen articles in all; my personal favorite is Peter Hollindale's "All the World's a Stage," which in its acute perceptions of our "age of performance" will never let me watch television in quite the same way again. We are proud that Signal editor Nancy Chambers had her start here at the Horn Book (see Lissa Paul's "A Signal Celebration" in the July/August 2003 issue) and wish her and husband Aidan the best for the continuing adventures of Thimble Press.Granny Torrelli's recipes for zuppa are only the beginning of her wisdom. With a pinch of patience, a cupful of humor, and a whole potful of common sense, she helps twelve-year-old Rosie season and savor her newly complicated friendship with Bailey, her longtime pal, who is blind. Murphy gives Granny a heart as generous as her Italian accent, and listeners will feel right at home in this kitchen, surrounded by steaming kettles and awash in Granny's stories of her childhood sweetheart. Rosie is a peppery mix of friendship and furor--a younger version of Granny minus the accent. Listeners will find this rendition molto charming. Copyright 2004 Horn Book Magazine Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 2003 November
Gr 3-6-The classic children's book by Roald Dahl ( Knopf, 1961) receives royal treatment in this terrific audiobook production. James Henry Trotter, a poor orphan, is being raised by two horrible aunts. Magic crystals change his humdrum existence, and soon he is off on a great adventure on a giant peach with new friends who are, to say the least, unique. There are sharks, seagulls, and irate cloud people to add interest along the way and, of course, Dahl's irreverent poetry. The story has always been a crowd-pleaser, and Jeremy Irons does more than read the story-he performs it. Each character has a unique voice, aptly suiting each personality, and Irons tells the story with humor and energy. Fans of Dahl will not be disappointed in this briskly paced tale that is a delight from beginning to end.-Teresa Bateman, Brigadoon Elementary School, Federal Way, WA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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