Wednesday, January 11, 2012

James and the Giant Peach

James and the Giant Peach
Roald Dahl ~ Michel Simeon
George Allen & Unwin, first UK edition published 1967

Since we've been talking of Dahl, I thought I'd share this that I unearthed at the library. I do love the gorgeous original American edition of James and the Giant Peach drawn by Nancy Ekholm Burkert (of which I sadly only have the paperback, non-color version), but the first British edition ran with different illustrations by an artist named Michel Simeon.

I'd never seen them until last week. They don't quite have the effortless flow of Nancy's delicate drawings, but it's still fun to see the evolution of one of my son's favorite novels. Others went onto illustrate the classic (Lane Smith and, of course, Blake), and each artist's interpretation brings something different to the story.

Until he was four years old, James Henry Trotter had a happy life. He lived peacefully with his mother and father in a beautiful house by the sea. There were always plenty of other children for him to play with, and there was the sandy beach for him to run around on, and the ocean to paddle in. It was the perfect life for a small boy.

Then, one, day, James's mother and father went to London to do some shopping, and there a terrible thing happened. Both of them suddenly got eaten up (in full daylight, mind you, and on a crowded street) by an enormous angry rhinoceros which had escaped from the London Zoo.

Isn't that always the way it goes? Poor little orphaned James with his sweet spirit and giant heart. The wretched aunts, Sponge and Spiker. The man with the bag of mystery. The grasshopper as large as a dog. The giant ladybug with nine black spots. The glow worm. And of course, the giant peach that brings them together.

A classic tale of fantasy and adventure told through the eyes of the amazing boy who lived it.


Also by:
Dirty Beasts
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Magic Finger
Danny Champion of the World


Read along on Instagram, Facebook, tumblr, Twitter and Etsy.


Melissa@Julia's Bookbag said...

What a lovely find! This book was truly in the top 3 of Most Favorite Books when I was young -- I cannot WAIT for Julia to be ready for it....

Elizabeth said...

Fantastic. There's something incredibly iconic about the second illustration -- the aunts and James walking toward the house. That house, the hill, the fence -- it gives me the same chills I remember when I first read the book so long ago.

Pamela said...

oooh! I love finds like these! James and the Giant Peach is one of my favourites too...any Roald Dahl is just amazing really. I just finished teaching a unit on Fantastic Mr Fox to a group of young students and got my hands on a hardcover 1970 version with the most AMAZING illustrations. Your blog is truly awesome... I love it!! :)

Jil Casey said...

The illustrations by Simeon in this book are just fantastic, putting it on my to get list

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