Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me

Roald Dahl
Illustrator:   Quentin Blake 
For ages 6 to 9
Penguin, 1998   ISBN: 978-0141302287

One day when he goes into town Billy is surprised to see that the old shop which was “For Sale” (it used to be a sweet shop) is being done up. Someone has bought the place and Billy is truly astonished when he sees a giraffe’s head sticking out of one of the top shop windows. A monkey can be seen in another window and a large pelican is sitting on the window sill of the third. What is the meaning of this? Then Billy sees that new words have been added to the shop front. They say: “The Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company.”

It isn’t long before the pelican explains that he and the monkey and the giraffe work together cleaning windows for people who don’t want a clutter of ladders all over the fronts of their homes or businesses. The animals are worried because they have used up all their money to buy and fix up the shop and they really need a job soon for they are all very hungry.

Luckily the animals are soon offered a truly splendid job; to clean the 677 windows of Hampshire House. As it turns out, the giraffe, the pelican, the monkey, and Billy end up doing a lot more than just cleaning windows, and the immensely rich Duke of Hampshire discovers how useful it is to have The Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company in his employ.

Punctuated with amusing snatches of poetry, this delightful story will soon have young readers smiling and wishing that they too could make friends with this remarkable trio of creatures. Not only is the story engaging and amusing, but the ending is perfect with everyone having their dreams come true.