The BFG

By Roald Dahl

Illustrations by Quentin Blake

Published by Farrar • Straus • Giroux

Copyright © 1982

The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is just another example of Roald Dahl’s childlike imagination combining with his social awareness, making for a moralistic tale that children can’t help but like.

Sophie lives in an orphanage. It is not a very nice place to live because the supervisors are very strict and love to punish children. One night Sophie could not sleep, and even though she knew she could be punished she got out of bed and tiptoed to the window where the moonlight was beaming through. When she looked out the window the homes and streets all around were quiet and there was nothing moving about. Soon however, she noticed a large shadowy figure looking into people homes. As he got closer to the orphanage Sophie went quickly back to her bed. But soon the large creature was at the orphanage and he reached in, grabbed Sophie, and ran speedily away.

Sophie was fortunate however, she had been kidnapped by the BFG. Had it been any other Giant she would have been eaten on the spot, but the BFG did not like to eat people.  He merely skulked around so that he could blow good dreams into children’s rooms. The BFG had to kidnap Sophie because she had seen him, and she certainly would have told everyone what she had seen first thing in the morning, and then they would have tried to capture him.

The BFG had problems enough back in Giantland without worrying about being caught by people. In Giantland the BFG was actually a runt; the other giants were twice his size. They were mean, cruel, and people eaters. They took every opportunity they could to bully the poor BFG, and every night they would run off to various countries and eat unsuspecting people. But now that Sophie was living with the BFG in Giantland this would have to stop.

In the BFG Roald Dahl tells the enjoyable story of an orphaned girl and a friendly and funny talking giant who become friends and find away to stop the mean giants. The funny made up words and names in this book are pure Dahl. While it is written from Sophie’s viewpoint, it is the BFG who steals the show because he is so silly and lovable. What I really enjoyed about this book was the lesson behind the story. While each creature has its own morality (rules for what is right or wrong) humans are the only ones that think it is okay to purposefully hurt others of their own kind. Giants would certainly never do this. Even though the other giants treat the BFG badly they would never kill him. This isn’t my favorite Dahl book, but it is one of my favorite morals. And this is a book that children 7 and up would likely enjoy.

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Filed under Fantasy, Friendship, Junior Fiction

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