Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Banned Book #6: James and the Giant Peach

Dahl, Roald.
James and the Giant Peach.
Random House Children's Books.
Guided Reading Level: Q

Summary from Barnes & Noble:

A little magic can take you a long way - When James Henry Trotter accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, 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. Then James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit, and when he crawls inside, he meets a bunch of marvelous oversized friends — Old Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, Miss Spider, and more. After years of feeling like an outsider in the house of his despicable Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, James has finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the exciting adventure begins!

Reason(s) for Banning:
  • Violence towards adults
  • Encouragement of children to lead "unhealthy lifestyles"
My Thoughts:
  • I used this book with a group of 4th grade students in 2005. I can honestly say I have never seen such enthusiasm with a group of 9 and 10- year olds about reading! I created a whole wealth of activities to use in collaboration with the reading and it was a huge success.
  • The book is written in fantasy styles - readers must expect some aspect of fantasy to take place (violence towards adults as it is portrayed in this novel) - if you discuss the genre with children, as well as the genre characteristics, children will realize that fantasy is just that... (see Elements of Fantasy website)
I can't justify any banning on this book at all... any book that has the power to get children that enthusiastic about reading is worthy of being on a shelf... as long as children understand that fantasy and reality shouldn't be mixed. As a teacher, I know I would be emphasizing that, making this book 100% appropriate in a classroom of [almost] any age group. Parents should also be taking the steps to be sure that children know and understand the types of books they're reading!

Your Job - Share your thoughts on the following topics on this post!
  • Should the book be on the banned book list?
  • Is it okay to be found on a library or book store shelf?
  • How would you share this book with your child/children?
  • If you are not familiar with the book, based on my post and the discussion of others, would you consider allowing your child to read/be read this book? Why? Why not?
If you're interested in finding out more information about any of the books reviewed or if you'd like to purchase the books, click the cover image for a link to