Monday, October 19, 2009


When I was a child, the school librarian read The BFG to us.  I still had a great fondness for it, even though I didn't remember much about it, and I was super excited to share it with Evalina and re-read it myself.  What a treat!

The Story:  At the orphanage, Sophie is all alone and none too happy.  She can't sleep, and happens to be awake in the middle of the night and sees something strange out of her window.  She sees a giant.  The giant sees her.  He reaches into her window and snatches her right out of her bed.  Luckily for Sophie, this giant is not the child-eating kind, but a Big Friendly Giant (BFG for short).  He brings her back to Giant Country, where he shows her (carefully, so they don't see her) the nine other giants - who are much larger than he is, and enjoy eating up humans by the dozen.  In his cave, he shows her his collection of dreams.  The BFG travels to the misty dream country with Sophie and shows her how he captures dreams.  At night, he travels to the human countries and blows dreams into children's bedrooms (which was what he was doing when Sophie saw him).   Can he and Sophie put a stop to the other terrible giant's human consumption?  Can the BFG get something to eat other than the horrid snozzcumbers that he is forced to live off of in leu of humans?

The Good:  The BFG is funny, and Sophie is very warm and open with him.  He is protective of her, and he is honorable.  This book offers lots of practice in sounding out words, because the BFG has poor grasp of language sometimes.  Roald Dahl has a way of making scary things funny.  The fearsome giants are undoubtedly evil, and scary, but they never seem ominous.  Sophie is safe with the BFG.

The Bad:  As mentioned, the other giants are terrible.  They snatch children from their beds at night and gobble them up like popcorn.  They beat up the BFG and are cruel to him because he is smaller than they are (he is only 24 feet tall, and they are all at least 50 feet tall).  There are jokes about farting, so if you don't like that sort of thing, you might not like that bit.  Sophie is an orphan, and that might take some explaining.

The Verdict:  Good prevails (sorry for the spoiler), and even the Queen of England is won over by the BFG.  According to Amazon, the book is for ages 9-12, but Evalina was certainly old enough for it (at 6 1/2).  Obviously it made a big impression on me, since I had good memories of it to this day.  It is a great book, and I can recommend it to anyone, no matter the size.

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