Movie Night: James and the Giant Peach

Movie Wednesday James and the Giant Peach

James Henry Trotter has lived with his ghastly aunts, Sponge and Spiker, ever since his parents were eaten by an escaped rhinoceros. Life is miserable… until a mysterious old man gives him a bag of magic crocodile tongues, which James accidentally uses to grow a peach the size of a house!

This fantastic fruit, and the friendly insects who live in it, might just be James’ path to a new life of adventure, if he can survive ghost pirates, robot sharks, and the return of the deadly rhinoceros, that is.


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Roald Dahl was and continues to be a beloved children’s author. James and the Giant Peach was one of Dahl’s first and most popular novels for children, and in 1996 it was adapted into a film. Produced by Tim Burton and Denise Di Novi, the film combines live action and stop motion animation elements (it took a whole week to animate one minute of film!) in order to contrast of James’ miserable “real” life with the fantastical adventure he goes on inside the giant peach.

James and the Giant Peach is a scary, warmhearted, and beautiful film for the whole family.

Discussion Questions

  • If you’ve read the original book, how do you think the film compares? Out of the changes that have been made, which ones do you think are the most successful?
  • Does James change during the film or is it just that his circumstances change? Explain.
  • What do you think of the combination of animation and live-action sequences? What other films can you think of that do this?
  • Do the occasional songs seem justified or out of place? Why or why not.
  • Are Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker evil or simply unpleasant? Give examples.
  • Do you think there is a moral to the story? If so, what is it?

Additional Resources

The official Roald Dahl website

The ArrowLearn language arts with the James and the Giant Peach (free sample) Arrow!

The Arrow is the monthly digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself). It’s geared toward children ages 8-11 and is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

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