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March Book of the Month

James and the Giant Peach

Roald Dahl

A little magic can take you a long way. After James Henry Trotter's parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it's as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!

A Note from the First Lady:

Dear Read20 Book Club families,

James and the Giant Peach is a fantastically imaginative story about a boy, his new found insect friends, and a magical peach that grows and grows to become absolutely, positively giant! Your imagination will be stretched as the friends experience an adventure that changes their lives forever. With springtime just around the corner, I hope this book helps us all look forward to the possibility of new beginnings, explorations, and adventures as we welcome spring on March 20.

We have big plans for spring at the Tennessee Residence, as we look forward to planting our kitchen and cutting garden with lots of spring vegetables this month. Although we do not have plans to grow a giant-sized peach in our garden, it is magical to plant seeds and watch how they grow to produce delicious fruits and vegetables. If you would like to visit the Tennessee Residence garden, we offer free tours of the home and grounds and special programs for students including hands-on activities in the garden. We hope you and your family will come visit!

Thank you for your commitment to reading, and I hope you enjoy reading James and the Giant Peach!

First Lady of Tennessee

Family Friendly Activities for the Book of the Month

  1. At first the insects inside the peach frighten James, but he quickly learns to see past their unusual looks and they become friends. He learns that each of the insects has a particular talent. What is special about each one? Which one is your favorite? Think about each of your friends and discuss what makes them special and unique.

  2. Roald Dahl gives very detailed descriptions for the characters and events that take place in this story. Draw a picture showing the different places James and his friends visited on the peach-be sure to use the descriptions in the book to help give detail to your drawing! Walt Disney created a movie based on Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, and you can watch the film to compare how you imagined the characters and scenes in your head.

  3. A recurring theme in James and the Giant Peach is overcoming fear. What different things were James and his insect friends afraid of and how did they overcome their fears? Write about a time that you had to overcome a fear. What did you do to help you be successful?

  4. You can find lots of magic in nature! Plant a few seeds or a small garden of your own in your school’s courtyard or by a window in your house or classroom. Research the growth process for your seeds. How long will it take for sprouts to push up out of the soil? How big is your plant expected to be? What do you need to do to care for it? Take some additional time to research earthworms, centipedes, and grasshoppers. Where do they really live, if not inside a peach pit? What else can you learn about these insects?

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