The story is that of an orphaned boy named James Henry Trotter who sets loose a bag full of magical crocodile tongues, causing a giant peach to grow and a group of insects, whom he meets inside the fruit, to grow large and start to talk. Using the peach as a ship, they all journey away from James’ abusive two aunts, ending up in New York City toward the end of the story.
Firstly, one of the characters of the book, the Silkworm, was completely omitted from the movie. Second, the book portrayed a rivalry between the Centipede and the Earthworm. The movie replaces this rivalry to one between the Centipede and the Grasshopper. Thirdly, in the book−just before the peach grows−James is chopping firewood, whereas in the movie, he is trying to save a spider from being killed. Even before this time in the story, an old man gives James a paper bag full of magical crocodile tongues and explains to him−though only in the book−what exactly to do with them.
James’ two aunts, Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, meet different fates in the two versions of the tale as the peach is disconnected to the tree and begins to roll down the top of the aunts’ steep property. In the movie, Sponge and Spiker are spared being squished to death by taking shelter in their car. The book, however, reveals a much more macabre outcome of the peach’s escape as Sponge and Spiker are flattened by the monstrous fruit. Also, sometime after beginning their adventure, James and the insects begin to eat some of the peach. At this point, the book describes the song that the Centipede sings about how the peach is the best thing that he’s ever eaten. The movie, on the other hand, shows all of the adventurers joining in the song as opposed to just the Centipede, though many of the song’s lyrics are left intact.
While the peach floats on the ocean waters, the insects and James encounter trouble…