James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl illustrated by Quentin Blake, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1961.
This is a book I have avoided reading thinking the premise was just silly. In fact zI also avoided the movie and have never watched the movie. However in the actual reading I actually enjoyed the book. The idea of flying off in a peach, could be a common fantasy of anyone who lives in a bad circumstance. However in this case, it was a magical reality.
The thing that made this book work was the characters. The different bugs who join James in the peach have very interesting personalities from the feud between the worm and the centipede to the grasshopper who plays music, to the silk worm and the glow warm and the spider. All common pests, but actually very interesting characters.