Cloud Men in James & the Giant Peach

Instructor: Jenny Homer

Jenny has masters' degrees in public health and public administration.

Have you ever dreamt of men in the clouds? Maybe in your dreams, these men take care of the weather or paint the pictures you see when looking at the clouds. What if there were ~'Cloud-Men~'? James and his friends meet the cloud men and learn all about them in the story ''James and the Giant Peach''.

Who are the Cloud Men?

Have you ever looked up at the sky at a rainbow and wondered how it got there? We know rainbows happen when light shines through tiny drops of water in the air. The exciting book James and the Giant Peach gives us a fun possibility--that rainbows are works of art by creatures called Cloud-Men.


To briefly review, James is a lonely boy who finds a batch of magical green things that look like stones (but are cooked crocodile tongues). The green things accidentally fall into the soil outside his home and make a peach grow until it's the size of a house! James climbs into the peach and meets a group of bugs and animals from the garden. They include a ladybug, centipede, and an earthworm. This unlikely crew travels on a journey in the peach, as it flies through the sky, carried by a group of seagulls.

Up in the sky, James and his friends notice creatures in the clouds. These creatures were much taller than a grown-up, 'wispy . . . shadowy', and looked like they were made of cotton candy and white hair. The Cloud-Men had black eyes but no noses, mouths, or ears. Cloud-Men live in cities in the clouds with their wives and children.

The Cloud-Men's Work

The Cloud-Men are busy with many different jobs. One of their jobs is making hail, little balls of ice that fall like rain. Up in the sky, the Cloud-Men take a handful of cloud and roll it up into a big white marble. Once they make enough, they use shovels to pick up piles of marbles and send them down. 'Down they go! Hail and snow!' they would say.


James and his friends also see hundreds of Cloud-Men painting a half-circle with big cans of paints and brushes. They work fast and before long the arch is full of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple paint, making a beautiful rainbow. Once Cloud-Men finish the rainbow, they lower it down from the clouds slowly on ropes. The Cloud-Men also make snow, the wind, and using big drums, thunder.

Storm Clouds

Meeting the Cloud-Men

James and most of the other animals feel nervous when they see the Cloud-Men. Imagine what a group of them must look like!

All of the creatures on the peach stay quiet, except for the centipede. The centipede decides to make a little trouble and teases the Cloud-Men and calls them idiots. His words make the Cloud-Men very angry. They throw hailstones hard and fast at the peach.

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