Review: “James and the Giant Peach” & “The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me” by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach was Roald Dahl’s second novel in children’s literature.

Dahl’s main character, James, is hopelessly thrust into a slavery of toil under the guardianship of his two cruel aunts upon the sudden death of his parents.  After an accidental meeting with a magician, James discovers a magic peach growing rapidly on a dead tree.  His curiosity leads him to escape his aunts’ clutches and start his journey with extraordinary friends to his dream destination, New York City.  Although the author connects his satire to the storyline, the plot of James and the Giant Peach is less captivating than some of Dahl’s later works.  Like in Matilda, Dahl includes fantasy while portraying everyday life, a theme that continues in all his novels for children.

The delightful The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me is an ignored short novel whose plot is reminiscent of Dahl’s famous novel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Billy, the lead character, is constantly admiring an old shop for sale which used to be a candy shop.  Meanwhile, the shop is finally sold to an unusual assortment of characters: a giraffe, a pelican, and a monkey, all exhibiting magical qualities.  They befriend Billy, make him their manager, and as owners of the shop and their own window-washing business, they set off together to meet their first customer, the cantankerous Duke of Hampshire.  After a hectic series of events, all the characters’ dreams, especially Billy’s, come true.  Humorous and featuring Dahl’s rhyming poetry, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me is a charismatic work of fiction.

Original review: Part 2: The best of Roald Dahl in children’s literature,


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