Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Dahl's House

Z got quite a few new books for Christmas and we've been having a great time reading them together. He got a couple of Roald Dahl books, ones that I had never read (or even heard of) before. The first was the absolutely delightful The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me. It's a little bit harder than an easy reader level but isn't broken into chapters. There are wonderful drawings throughout the book by Quentin Blake.

A young boy lives next door to an abandoned store front that used to house a candy store. One day renovations are started at the store -- things are chucked out the window, the door is made super tall and a sign appears announcing that it's a window washing firm. Eventually the members of their firm poke their heads out of the window -- a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey. The giraffe reaches the tall windows, the pelican uses its beak as a bucket and the monkey does the washing. All they need now are some clients and a rather wealthy one falls right into their laps. If they can just get through a few trials first, they may be set for life!

Z adored this book. I couldn't read it fast enough for him. He loved the characters, the situations and the drawings. I've honestly never seen him quite so excited about a book. I wouldn't be surprised if I catch him reading it again soon!

The second Dahl we read was George's Marvelous Medicine. Definitely for an older audience (both in length and tone), this is a strange and somewhat dangerous story. George is a young boy with an awful live-in grandma. She's verbally abusive and possibly a witch. George is left in charge of watching her one morning and giving her a daily dose of medicine. He decides that what she really needs is a medicine that will cure her nastiness, meanness and crotchetiness (which I'm fairly sure is not a word). He goes around the house and collects all sorts of household products to add to the mix--hairspray, toothpaste, face powder, motor oil, paint and more--to make a truly toxic blend. What happens when he puts a bit into Granny?

I was getting a bit worried as we were reading the two or three chapters of "ingredients" that Z was getting some bad ideas about what is safe to give someone to eat. This is definitely not a book for adventurous kids who may want to try concocting something on their own. Leave this one to the timid ones who will dream up crazy things but never act on them. This book was amusing but strange and had a rather awful ending. Z even seemed a bit shocked by what happened. Have you read this one before? What did you think?

Moving together past the standards,
K and Z

Support our site and buy The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me and George's Marvelous Medicine on Amazon or find them at your local library. We own our own copies.


  1. Love the post title!!!

    The first one sounds like a real winner. But I could see your concerns with the second one!

  2. Really good points about the second one! I've read that one and it is cute, but not one of my favorites. I haven't heard of the first and definitely need to check it out!