I finished reading "James and the Giant Peach" to my 7-year-old last night. I'm a little sad about it really. James Henry Trotter and his gang of insect pals had become so real to us. When it snowed today, we wondered who had upset the Cloud Men. When I painted a room a few days earlier, I remembered poor Miss Spider's grandmother and ushered a wayward spider to safety. When the loneliest child in the world had a mile of boys and girls following him in a ticker tape parade, I had tears in my eyes.
My boy marveled at the illustrations and noticed things in them my word-focused attention had missed: The magician hiding by the peach stone in Central Park, the insects tucked away on the peach tree at the end. It is a beautiful book, and a perfect story to read aloud.
But now we're done.
How do you follow up "James and the Giant Peach"?
No, really. I'm not being hypothetical. I need suggestions.
And, um, also ...
WARNING: SHAMELESS SELF PROMOTION
I had a minor heart attack this morning when a friend pointed this out to me.
As my friend and fellow author Melissa Wyatt pointed out, "It's one of those 'it's real' moments." And it is. I can't wrap my mind around it. But Lucy, my protagonist, she's absolutely doing cartwheels.
You should really check out Melissa's books. "Funny How Things Change" is one of the best contemporary coming of age books I've read. I love that it shows not everyone has to make the same decision, but everyone should make his own decisions about life. "Raising the Griffin" made me believe in the magic of second chances, even when everyone doesn't get to live happily ever after.