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The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me Lesson in Reading

written by: Patricia Gable • edited by: SForsyth • updated: 3/2/2012

What a great way to introduce your students to the master of wackiness, Roald Dahl! Read the book aloud to your students and use The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me lesson to introduce new vocabulary, work on suffixes and comprehension skills and do a creative group project.

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    19596756.JPG Roald Dahl is known as the master of wackiness with bizarre characters and humorous situations. His books encourage the imaginations of young readers. In my opinion The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me lesson is a great way to introduce Roald Dahl to readers of ages 7-11. This light-hearted book does not have the deliciously evil villains, as do some of Dahl’s books. The characters have dreams and use their unique talents to attempt to achieve their dreams. It also includes descriptions of some yummy sweet treats, which Dahl likes to include in many of his books.

    Reading this book will be a springboard to introduce new vocabulary and provide an opportunity for some creative brainstorming. It’s the perfect way to familiarize your students with renowned author Roald Dahl.

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    Use the Book to for Word Work Activities

    Depending on your time restraints, this 76-page book filled with illustrations can be read to your class in two or three sessions. Be aware of a couple of words that you may want to substitute as you read aloud: page 1, queer (strange, odd); page 30,damnation (Oh dear, Aw heck); page 32, damnable (horrible).

    New vocabulary:

    Grubber- another name for a sweet-shop or candy store

    lavatory pan- toilet

    fishmonger- person or store that sells fish

    patented (Pelly’s patented beak)- sole right to make or use

    chauffer- person employed to drive a car

    Duke-a title given to a ruler of an area usually in England


    Use white or manila construction/drawing paper size 9" X 12". Fold paper in thirds and then in half to form 6 rectangles. Instruct students to write one each of the new words at the top of each rectangle and then draw a picture to illustrate each word meaning.

    Suffix work:

    The animals in the book formed the “Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company" What does ladderless mean? When less is added to the end of a word it usually means “without". Less is a suffix, which is one or more letters or sounds added at the end of a word to modify the word's meaning. What other words can you think of that end with less? (useless, homeless, fearless, hopeless, hairless,)

    Some other suffixes include:

    able: means able (capable, agreeable, likable)

    ful: means full of ( beautiful, hopeful, frightful, helpful)

    ly: means like (clearly, slowly, quietly)

    ness: means the state of (closeness, meanness, weirdness)

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    Comprehension Questions

    You may use these as discussion questions or as a written assignment.

    1.What three ways did the Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company help the duke? (They picked cherries from the top of the tree. They captured the burglar. They washed the windows.)

    2. What did the Duke do for them? (He gave salmon to Pelly, pink and purple flowers to Giraffe and walnuts to the monkey. He helped Billy start his own candy store.)

    3. What did some of the special sweets do for the person eating them? (One candy made the Duke warm up on a chilly day. Mint Jujubes made the teeth of the boy next door stay green for a month. Pishlets made Pelly whistle. Another candy made Monkey breathe fire.)

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    Create New Story Characters for Small Group Work

    Do some brainstorming with your class about common jobs around town.

    Here are a few:

    Trash collecting

    Restaurant cooking or serving

    Street cleaning

    Factory assembly line

    Bus or taxi drivers

    Construction workers


    Medical workers

    Remind them of the talents of the Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company: Pelly had a special lid on his beak and he used the bottom half as a bucket. Giraffe’s magical neck grew longer to reach windows on the highest floor of the building. Then divide your students into groups. Instruct students to come up with a team of animals that each have specific powers or characteristics that would aid them in doing one of these jobs. The animals should use some characteristic they already have but make it enhanced. For example: an elephant may be part of a landscaping team and use his super powered trunk to blow leaves into big piles. Encourage humor and imagination. Groups must present their ideas to the class.

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    The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me lessons are a fun way to introduce author Roald Dahl to your students. It is quick, funny and outrageous. The book provides opportunities to learn new vocabulary, practice comprehension skills and do creative group work, but what are some great ways you have used in your classroom? Please share below.


  • Dahl,Roald.  The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me.  Scholastic, 2000.