James and the Giant Peach

Age Range: 5 - 11

James has lived with his beastly Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker ever since the day his parents were eaten up outside London Zoo by an angry escapes rhinoceros. Then something very peculiar happens that will whisk James away from his wretched existence and take him on an unbelievable journey!


Book Author: Roald Dahl

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Teaching Ideas and Resources:

English

  • Write a newspaper report about what happened to James' parents.
  • Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker are selfish, lazy and cruel. Can you think of any other words to describe them?
  • Create a character profile for the characters in the story. What do they look like? What is their personality like? What have been the most important events in their lives so far?
  • Write James' diary entry for one of his days at his aunts' house.
  • After three years at the house, something 'peculiar' happens to James. What does peculiar mean? Can you think of any synonyms?
  • Look at the use of rhyming within the songs in the story.
  • Write a new story involving the old man who gives James the 'tiny green things'. Where does he come from? How does he make them? Who might he give them to next and what might happen to them?
  • Write a recipe / set of instructions to teach someone how to make the 'tiny green things'.
  • Write an alternative version of the story where James didn't trip and spill the bag. What happened to him instead?
  • Write a new story with the opening paragraph? 'Something is about to happen, he told himself. Something peculiar is about to happen at any moment'.
  • At the end of Chapter 9, James discovers the hole in the giant peach. Write a set of 'for' and 'against' arguments for going inside the hole. What would you do?
  • Write about how James felt when he first discovered the creatures inside the peach.
  • Imagine that you discovered a life-size insect. How would you feel? Could you write a new story about what might happen?
  • Write a diary entry from one of the aunts' point of view on the day that the peach rolls away from their garden.
  • Write a newspaper report about the peach's journey across the countryside.
  • Make a list of words that describe what a peach tastes like. Read / sing the centipede's song about food. What might some of the items in his song taste like?
  • Can you find different types of punctuation in the story. When / why are they used?
  • Why has the author used ellipses when the peach is carried up into the air by the seagulls?
  • Carry out some role play activities involving the main characters in the story. How did they feel about different events in the story? You could also pretend to be some of the other characters (e.g. the officers on the Queen Mary). What was their reaction when they saw the peach? How did they respond?
  • Write a story about the Cloud-Men that James and the insects sea on their journey.
  • Read and perform the play version of the book. How are play scripts presented and organised?
  • Listen to the audiobook version of the story. Could you record your own audio version of part of the book?
  • Watch the film version of the book. How are they similar / different? Which do you prefer? Why?
  • Watch the trailer for the film. Could you create a book trailer?

Maths

  • Measure the height / circumference of a normal peach. What might the height and circumference of the giant peach be?
  • How much would tickets to see the giant peach be? How much might it cost for a family of four? How much would it be if they brought a camera?
  • Find out how many legs different types of centipedes really have. Can you find pictures of different centipedes and count the legs?

Science

  • Find out how fruit and vegetables grow. Make a poster to teach people how to grow their own fruit and vegetables.
  • Find out about the insects in the story. What do they look like? What special features / abilities do they have? What do they eat? Can you make a food chain that includes one / some of them?
  • What forces are involved when the peach starts to roll down the hill. Can you plan and carry out an investigation to find different types of surfaces that might make it roll more quickly / slowly?
  • Why do things float? Can you investigate different objects (including a peach) to find out if they float or sink?
  • How do real insects help us? Use the information in Chapter 25 to help you.

Computing

  • Make a poster to encourage people to come and see the giant peach.
  • Plan and record a video news report for an American TV station about the arrival of a giant peach in New York.
  • Can you make a stop-motion animation based on a part of the film? Watch these animation tests from the film version for inspiration:

Art

  • Create a timeline showing the main events of the story.
  • Draw the view that James has out of his window and Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker's house.
  • Use paint to mix the colours of the giant peach's skin ('a rich buttery yellow with patches of brilliant pink and red').
  • Design the tickets that were used for people visiting the giant peach.
  • Draw pictures of the giant peach in the garden in the day and at night time.
  • Draw a picture of the inside of James' home at the end of the story.

Music

  • Can you sing some of the songs in the story? Can you compose a tune for them?

Geography

  • Draw a map showing the locations used in the story.
  • Can you draw a map showing the peach's journey?
  • Look on a map and find some locations that could be used for a new film version of the book. What would be a suitable location for Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker's house?
  • In the story, Cloud-Men make different types of weather. Can you find out how rain / hailstones / rainbows are really made?

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