Feb 172014

In Roald Dahl – The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me the starting premise of the story is that the narrator, Billy, lives near an old abandoned shop which used to be a grubber (an old name for a sweet shop; this fascination with sweets is another common theme in Roald Dahl’s stories). One day, he notices that the shop has been sold and is occupied again. The strangest renovations take place in front of him – old furniture is thrown out of the house and sent crashing to the ground (adults know that no one does renovations like that but the mental image of bathtubs and toilet bowls being flung out of second-floor windows and shattering on the ground would tickle juvenile humour, I suspect). The next time he goes back to the shop, he sees that the old entrance has been removed and the tallest door ever stands in its place.

The reason behind the tall door is soon apparent for amongst the new tenants, there is a giraffe called…Giraffe. The other tenants are a monkey called Monkey and a pelican called…you got it! – Pelican or sometimes Pelly for short.

Anyway, these are no ordinary animals. Firstly, they can talk. Not only that, they even have entrepreneurial sense and have started a business, a window-cleaning business. Their business model is just the sort of half-ingenious half-mad plot that a weird mind like Roald Dahl’s would dream up. Giraffe has an extendible neck (suspense of belief) that acts as a ladder. Monkey is the cleaner and Pelly’s beak (the top half is retractable like the sort of metal ruler that contractors use – suspense of belief, remember?) is the pail that holds the water…

Roald Dahl – The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me


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