It’s silent on top of the peach. The Earthworm lies in the sun in full view of the seagulls. His tail dangles into the tunnel so that the Old-Green-Grasshopper and the Ladybug can quickly pull him in to safety, while James waits in the tunnel with a loop of string to lasso the gulls. Inside the peach’s chamber, the Glow-worm lights the room so the Silkworm and Miss Spider can spin their thread.
The sheer number of moving parts in James’s plan adds to the novel’s sense of silliness and absurdity. However, the complexity of the plan also emphasizes James’s inventiveness and leadership, as everyone has a role to play. It’s also significant that all parts of this plan involve nature; it’s bugs, silk from a silkworm and spider, and seagulls that are putting this plan into action, which again speaks to the idea that the natural world is brimming with opportunities.
In the tunnel, James tells the Earthworm that a gull is coming. When he gives the word, the Old-Green-Grasshopper and the Ladybug pull the Earthworm inside, and James loops the string around the gull’s neck. James lets about 50 yards of string out and then ties the gull to the peach’s stem. Then, the group repeats the process over and over again. The sharks frantically attack the peach as James lassos the 500th seagull. At the 501st seagull, the peach begins to hover slightly over the water. With the 502nd seagull, the peach lifts into the sky like a balloon.
Here, it’s unimportant to consider how long it would take to lasso 502 seagulls—it would take hours. Rather, the novel wants readers to focus on how James was able to carry out his highly inventive plan quickly and successfully. James’s success and leadership suggests that children can do amazing things when given the opportunity to do so.