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James and the Giant Peach Turns 50

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Roald Dahl’s classic James and the Giant Peach, which according to the author’s website, was the “first major book” Dahl wrote for children. Generations have fallen in love with the orphan James Henry Trotter, forced to live with his horrible aunts, Sponge and Spiker, who embarks on a magical adventure inside a giant peach. To celebrate the silver anniversary, publisher Penguin has created an interactive global campaign called Follow that Peach! Children, parents and people of all ages are invited to send Peach-grams to friends and family worldwide to share the news of the book’s birthday.

Peach-grams can be sent electronically via the Follow that Peach! website or a paper version can be downloaded to print out and send in the mail. Everyone who receives a Peach-gram is asked to “keep the peach rolling” by sending it on to their friends and family. The goal, described on their website “is for every virtual peach to travel to 50 people – in celebration of the 50th anniversary…[and] for each paper Peach-gram to reach 5 different stops on its journey before it is returned to the Penguin Group.” Each Peach is given a unique name, and the peaches that travel the farthest and/or reach the most people are ranked on scoreboards posted on the web. People who take pictures with their paper Peach-grams at local places of interest are also invited to post their photos on the Follow that Peach! photo gallery.

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