Roald Dahl, the best-loved of children's writers, was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. After school in England he went to work for Shell in Africa. He began to write after "a monumental bash on the head", sustained as an RAF pilot in World War II. Roald Dahl died in 1990.
Billy unexpectedly saves the Duke's diamonds from burglars in this funny tale. Ages 3-8. (August)
Gr 1-4 Blake's frenetic watercolors are quite appealing, but they do not redeem this slight story. A little boy wandering by a deserted old grubber (sweet shop) notices some movement within and meets the owners of the Ladderless Window-Cleaning Co. The building's new tenantsa giraffe, a pelican and a monkeyhave hardly introduced themselves to the lad when a chauffeur-driven limousine arrives to invite the glass-shining team to clean the 677 windows of the Duke's house. After demonstrating their cleaning finesse (and catching a burglar in the process), the three are rewarded with edible gifts and an invitation to live with the Duke. Young Billy receives the renovated sweet shop stocked with candies of the world, which Dahl describes in detail. The charming illustrations surrounding the verse beg to climb off of the oversize pages. Perhaps the effect would be smashing as an animated cartoon, but the minimal plot development makes this an extremely weak book. Susan Scheps, Bertram Woods Branch Library, Shaker Heights, Ohio