Epub, ebook format, 131 pages
Published 2007 by Puffin Books
Have you ever thought of living by yourself with your wicked aunts? Without friends to talk to and play with. Not even decent food, and the worst is without decent attention from people who were supposed to give you care?
James Henry Trotter, previously a happy kid, turned to be a miserable one since his parents deceased. He then lived with his horrible aunts, Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge. They were cruel. Lazy, selfish and always called James ‘you disgusting little beast’ or you filthy nuisance’ or you miserable creature’. You can imagine how pitiful James’ life was. His life wouldn’t change if he didn’t meet an old man who gave him a bag full of mass of tiny green things that looked like little stones or crystals. He said that if James wanted to change his miserable life, he had to take the bag and do something with it.
But there was an accident with the bag. Accidentally James dropped it. He couldn’t put them together. But then what he got the next morning was something miraculous. There stood a giant peach tree. The tree produced a giant peach, too. His two aunts took the credit of the tree. They sold tickets from anyone who wanted to see the giant tree. Soon, they made some enormous sum of money. One night, while they were counting how much money they got, James was assigned to clean the backyard where there was much rubbish. On his curiosity, he climbed up the giant tree. He reached the giant peach, he found something peculiar inside.
There, he found some creatures with their giant figure: old green grasshopper, centipede, earthworm, spider, silk-worm, ladybird, and glow-worm. Apparently, all of them lived inside the fruit. James, previously thought that they would kill him for their food, found them friendly. The next day, all the creatures were ready to have a new journey with peach as their transportation. They kept rolling, passing the two wicked aunts on the ground, and ended up in ocean. They found themselves bobbing up and down. Soon, they were trapped around tens of sharks. They must do something if they wanted to continue their journey, and above all, to save their life. Would they survive with sharks around and no food supplies?
This story starts with gloomy parts of James but then came the thrilling part when they underwent the journey. James turned out to be genius with his ideas. As usual, Dahl tried to deliver some moral messages about friendship and to be grateful of what God provides for us, the human beings. Check out the quote:
‘No, but I do other things, some of which are really quite extraordinary’ the Earthworm said, brightening.‘Such as what?’ asked James.‘Well,’ the Earthworm said. ‘Next time you stand in a field or in a garden and look around you, then just remember this: that every grain of soil upon the surface of the land, every tiny little bit of soil that you can see has actually passed through the body of an Earthworm during the last few years! Isn’t that wonderful? (page 85)
For all this time, I always felt disgusted with worms. I actually knew that farmers love worms around their fields to make them fertile. But you know a picture of worm itself gave me goosebumps hahaha. Dahl wanted to show that God created every little thing with its benefits. Worms are all what the farmers need, spiders catch mosquitos. The Ladybird said ‘I am told that they do,’ the Ladybird answered modestly, blushing all over. ‘In fact, I understand that in some places the farmers love us so much that they go out and buy live Ladybirds by the sackful and take them home and set them free in their fields. They are very pleased when they have lots of Ladybirds in their fields.(page 85).
Oya, Dahl also provided some facts (well, I have to check first actually. Lol) about what people have thought for all this time, which they proved wrong. Who would have guessed that grasshoppers’ ears are on their side of their tummy, and crickets’ ears are on their legs, just below the knee. People always thought that spots on ladybirds showed how long they have lived. They said that spots never change.
One thing for sure, this story suggests us, people, to care about the little creature around us. They have their own parts in the circle of life. Gratitude is all what we have to give with them around us.