James & the Giant Peach: Theme & Characters

Instructor: Ashley Hazelwood
In this lesson, you will learn about the theme and characters in the book, ~'James & the Giant Peach~', written by Roald Dahl. A major theme in the book is friendship. James meets many new friends on his journey. Are you ready to read all about them?

The Theme of James and the Giant Peach

The theme of James and the Giant Peach is that it's never too late to give up on friendship. Even though James loses his parents, and his aunts are mean to him, he still desires to make friends who care about him, and he doesn't give up. Have you ever desired anything? To desire means to want something very badly. Have you ever been alone on the playground during recess and wished you had someone to play with? If so, then you know exactly how James felt in the story when he desired to make friends. In the end, James is lucky to make new friends on his journey across the Atlantic Ocean in a giant peach!

It's time you learn all about the creatures, or a group of animals that will change his life forever and become James' closest friends.


Roald Dahl, the author of James and the Giant Peach, had a great imagination. He created all of characters you will read about below.

Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl


At first, James is afraid of Centipede. However, throughout their voyage, James begins to enjoy Centipede's joking personality. Sometimes, Centipede's jokes get him into trouble.

Miss Spider

Miss Spider is the second arachnid mentioned on the character list. An arachnid is a kind of animal that has many legs and whose body is divided into parts. Although many people are afraid of spiders, Miss Spider is kind and gentle and acts like a mother figure to James. Her weaving skills help James and the other characters survive in the peach.


Of all the characters in the peach, the Earthworm gives James the most trouble. This is probably because he is blind and cannot tell what is going on around him. At first, he does not agree with James' plan to rescue them from the peach. However, he comes around and they become great friends.

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