This particular story, I suppose is less popular than The BFG, The Witches, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as I’ve only ‘heard’ of it when I saw it in a bookseller’s shelf. The book itself (the Puffin book version) is only 79 pages long, including the illustrations by Quentin Blake and a few original verses by Dahl.
The story, compared to Dahl’s other more popular novels, is in the first person. It starts with “I.” Billy, our young hero, narrates the story. He tells us of the recently acquired old sweetshop and its new occupants—a Giraffe, a Pelican and a Monkey (the “Me” in the title).
Like all Dahl stories, we must simply believe that these three animals could buy property and set up shop. Speaking of shop, Roald Dahl once again makes things possible with how much he stretches his readers’ imagination, for what better shop can a Giraffe, a Pelican and a Monkey have, if not a Ladderless Window Cleaning Company.
We are the window cleaners We will polish your glass Till it’s shining like brass And it sparkles like sun on the sea! We are quick and polite, We will come day and night, The Giraffe and the Pelly and me!
So goes their song. How then do they clean windows? For a ladder they use the Giraffe, for a pail they use the Pelican and for Wiping they use the Monkey. It’s a very creative system that makes the reader go: “Well, that’s right, why didn’t I think of that?”
The story is quite simple, Billy and our three window cleaners are hired by the Duke to clean his windows and in the process they help catch a burglar. As a reward, they are given their dreams. For the giraffe it’s the fruit of the Tinkle Tinkle tree, for the Monkey its nut trees, for the Pelican it’s a pond filled with Salmon and for the boy it’s candy for his sweetshop.
What then can any reader take from this book? Personally, I think it reminds us of things we’ve taken for granted. Things such as: the value of work and what it gives us, concern for others, using our talents/gifts for the betterment of lives, and maybe, just maybe a flash of ingenuity.
The Giraffe, and the Pelly and Me is a short story that allows its readers to imagine, to dream and to believe that sometimes with our little talents (no matter what others say) can be of help to others and can fulfill our wildest dreams.
We have tear in our eyes As we wave our goodbyes, We loved being with you, we three. So do please now and then Come and see us again, The Giraffe and the Pelly and me.
What better invitation can I give for you to try and take a peek into this little story.