This year Penguin Young Readers and the Roald Dahl Literary Estate are celebrating 100 years since the birth of Roald Dahl —the world’s number one storyteller.
In just under a week, our beloved Roald Dahl is going to be 100! Needless to say, you should be excited. If you're anything like me, your childhood is filled with warm memories of curling up with Roald's books, and those books still give you warm fuzzies when you see a child picking them up. (I definitely extended our selection of his books in my store--never enough!)
And now, Penguin is celebrating in a big way. They've got this huge blog tour that you're (obviously) enjoying, plus they're releasing gorgeous redesigned copies of some of Dahl's most beloved books--lots in paperback, and a select few in collectible hardcovers. (Seriously, they're gorgeous. I just shelved the hardcovers yesterday, and may have petted a few before putting them on the shelf.)
The book I get to share is a lesser-known one, at least for me, but it's just a fun and memorable as all of your favorites from Roald: The Giraffe, the Pelly and Me. Read a little about it and the excerpt, and you'll know why.
About the book:
Billy's biggest wish is to turn a weird old wooden house into a wonderful sweet-shop. But then he finds a giraffe, a pelly and a monkey living inside - they're the Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company! Who needs ladders when you've got a giraffe? They become best friends and when they meet the richest man in all of England, there's a chance that Billy's scrumptious-galumptious dream just might come true . . .
On the shop-window itself somebody has painted in white the words FOR SAIL.
One morning, I noticed that FOR SAIL had been scraped off the shop-window and in its place somebody had painted SOLED. I stood there staring at the new writing and wishing like mad that it had been me who had bought it because then I would have been able to make it into a grubber all over again. I have always long and longed to own a sweet-shop. The sweet-shop of my dreams would be loaded from top to bottom with Sherbet Suckers and Caramel Fudge and Russian Toffee and Sugar Snorters and Butter Gumballs and thousands and thousands of other glorious things like that. Oh boy, what I couldn't have done with that old Grubber shop if it had been mine!
On my next visit to The Grubber, I was standing across the road gazing at the wonderful old building when suddenly an enormous bathtub came sailing out through one of the second-floor windows and crashed right on to the middle of the road!
A few moments later, a white porcelain lavatory pan with the wooden seat still on it came flying out of the same window and landed with a wonderful splintering crash just beside the bathtub. This was followed by a kitchen sink and an empty canary-cage and a four-poster bed and two hot-water bottles and a rocking horse and a sewing-machine and goodness knows what else besides.
It looked as though some madman was ripping out the whole of the inside of the house, because now pieces of staircase and bits of the banisters and a whole lot of old floorboards came whistling through the windows.
Then there was silence. I waited and waited but not another sound came from within the building. I crossed the road and stood right under the windows and called out, "Is anybody at home?"
There was no answer.
In the end it began to get dark so I had to turn away and start walking home. But you can bet your life nothing was going to stop me from hurrying back there again tomorrow morning to see what the next surprise was going to be.
Copyright © Roald Dahl, reprinted with permission from Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House
About Roald Dahl:
Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. In 1951, Roald Dahl met his future wife, the American actress Patricia Neal, who starred in films including The Day the Earth Stood Still, Breakfast at Tiffany's, and Hud, for which she won an Oscar. After establishing himself as a writer for adults, Roald Dahl began writing children's stories in 1960 and wrote two of his best-known novels, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in the U.S.
In September 1964, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published initially in the U.S. with the U.K. following a few years later. It would go on to become one of the most famous and best-known of Roald's stories. The idea for the story grew out of his own well-documented love of chocolate and his school-day memories of acting as a taster for a famous chocolate factory. These first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.
Today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and have sold more than 200 million books. With more than 40 million Roald Dahl books in print in the U.S. alone, Dahl is considered one of the most beloved storytellers of our time and his popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.