Not far from where I live there is a queer old empty wooden house standing all by itself on the side of the road.
Written with a quiet but quirky poeticism The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me is a tale of fun, frolics and friendship – with a little bit of window washing thrown in! Billy walks past an abandoned sweet shop every day and dreams of owning it. Suddenly, one day, he notices that it has been taken over by a strange new band of owners… The Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company consists of a giraffe (the ladder), a pelican (the bucket) and a monkey (the cleaner)!
This often over-looked Dahl is actually a complete delight and one I discovered and became very fond of through the audiobook. I love the charmingly whimsical idea of three exotic animals creating a window-cleaning service from an old sweet shop building – it’s so beautifully random! Each animal takes it in turns to interrupt the narrative and recite a witty rhyme, much like the Centipede of James and the Giant Peach. The effect of weaving these two narrative styles together slowly introduces children to the concept and playfulness of poetry as well as effectively introducing character backstory and adding further whimsy to the tale.
With references to Dahl’s childhood dream of being a sweet shop proprietor (enhanced by the first person narrative) as well as the intertextual mention of the magical Willy Wonka from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me is a quick-paced, fun short story that will entertain over and again – oh if only half the sweets featured in this story were real!