James is hungry and upset. The moon is big, high, and casts strange shadows on the garden. It’s also creepily quiet. James is scared, as anyone would be in such a situation. He looks ahead and sees the peach, which seems even bigger than it was yesterday. The moonlight makes the peach look like a huge, silver ball. Once again, James feels “shivers of excitement” on his back. He knows something else is going to happen. James looks around, wondering what might happen, and realizes that the whole garden seems “alive with magic.” As though in a trance, James approaches the peach, climbs the fence, and touches it. It’s soft and fuzzy. Then, James notices a hole in the peach’s side.
By noting that anyone would feel afraid in this situation, Dahl draws young readers in and helps them identify with James. With this, Dahl encourages readers to pay attention to the natural world and notice how magical it can be, just like James does. It’s fun and exciting, per the novel, to be outside with no plan or goal other than to have fun exploring. When people engage with the natural world like this, surprising things show up—such as the hole that James finds in the side of the peach.