The BFG

by Roald Dahl (1982)

Also available in Spanish.

The BFG is one of many fantastic novels written for children by Roald Dahl, the beloved author of imaginative tales told in accessible, reader-friendly prose.  If you’ve only read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and/or James and the Giant Peach, it’s time to introduce The BFG to your students and your families

The BFG tells the story of Sophie, an orphan (like most Dahl protagonists), who is kidnapped by a huge giant, who turns out to be an eccentric and charming fellow named the BFG — the Big Friendly Giant.  In the BFG’s cave, Sophie will learn all about the land of the giants, and the curious way the BFG lives his life.  Readers will discover the joys of frobscottle, the horrors of the snozzcumber, and what it takes and means to capture and mix dreams in Dream Country.

The true heart of The BFG is the giant’s speech.  He speaks an inventive, mixed-up, funny, yet charming lingo. Dahl invents a host of neologisms — adjectives, nouns, verbs — that come off even funnier when read aloud.

Just try reading this exclamation from the BFG without smiling – even though it is about eating children:

“Just because I is a giant, you think I is a man-gobbling cannybull!  You is about right!  Giants is all cannybully and murderful!  And they does gobble up human beans!”

All of this playful lingo make The BFG a delight – and a challenge – to read aloud together.  When you do, see if you don’t start employing some of it yourself and making it your own, referring to your children as ‘chiddlers’ or something that tastes good as ‘delumptious.’

Eventually, Sophie will try to help the BFG find a new way to survive and vanquish the truly horrible not-friendly giants who terrorize the poor BFG.  She’ll even get to meet the Queen!

The delightfully inventive prose makes The BFG a perfect book for families to discover and enjoy together, as Roald Dahl and the Big Friendly Giant charm and enthrall children of all ages.

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