James & the Giant Peach: Genre & Facts

Instructor: April Gwen Ellsworth

April has a master's degree in psychology and has experience teaching special populations from preschoolers to adults.

If you want to read about magical adventures, 'James and the Giant Peach' offers plenty of fantasy, a writing style that includes stories that cannot happen in real life. Learn more about fantasy and interesting facts about this book, as well.

James and the Giant Peach

'My dear young fellow,' the Old-Green-Grasshopper said gently, 'there are a whole lot of things in this world of ours you haven't started wondering about yet.' This quote from James and the Giant Peach tells us how important wonder and imagination are in this magical fantasy written by Roald Dahl.

Before James and the Giant Peach, Dahl, who was from England, had only written stories for adults, but in 1959, he began writing for children. He proved to be a talented children's author. James and the Giant Peach became very popular and is still read by many children today. Dahl published the book in 1961 in the United States, with the same publisher he had worked with on some of his short stories for adults, Alfred A. Knopf. After writing it, Dahl wrote many more successful children's books, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Roald Dahl dedicated his first children's book to his daughters, Olivia and Tessa. He got the idea for the story as he wondered how a tiny apple seed could grow into such a big tree while he was out in his orchard, which is a garden for fruit trees. He thought, 'What if it never stopped growing?' This made him decide to write a story about a giant fruit. He thought about whether a cherry, apple, pear, or other fruit would be best. He chose a giant peach because peaches are pretty, big, squishy, and have a seed in the middle to play with!

Roald Dahl decided a peach would be the best giant fruit for his first fantasy story for children.


Is it possible to live inside of a real peach, or have insects the size of people as your friends? No, but magical things like this make for a fun story! That's what fantasy is: telling a story that focuses on things that are magical and cannot happen in real life.

You may have heard of other stories that are in the genre, or style, of fantasy. The Harry Potter series of books are fantasies, and Peter Pan and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, too. Can you think of parts of each of these stories that cannot really happen in real life?

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