Roald Dahl was a GIANT of an author as well as a man, being 6ft 6” (1.98m) tall. He was a master storyteller who has been delighting children and adults alike with his writing for decades (his books have sold upwards of 250 million copies worldwide). His scrumdiddliumtious tales are still delighting readers today, long after his death in 1990.
In 1982 he published The BFG (The Big Friendly Giant) as a full children’s novel, with a short version of it originally being told as a bedtime story in the 1975 children’s book Danny, Champion of the World.
Sophie is an eight-year-old orphaned girl who lives in an children’s home with several other girls. One night when she cannot sleep, and despite the orders of the cruel disciplinarian orphanage owner Mrs Clonkers, she gets out of bed and looks out of the window over the deserted London streets. But the witching hour is no time for people to be awake, especially young children, and she sees something she shouldn’t! A 24ft giant with a wrinkly face, enormous ears and a dark cloak is wandering around carrying a suitcase and a trumpet, looking in windows and occasionally blowing in something he takes from his suitcase into the rooms of the sleeping occupants. Scared, Sophie jumps back into her bed and hides under the covers. But she has been noticed by the giant who promptly reaches into her window and plucks her off her bed, whisking her away to his cave in a desolate strange and distant land – a faraway land known as Giant Country.
Sophie is only a small girl, and the giant is, well, a 24ft giant of a man so she is terrified that he is going to eat her. She pleads for life, but the giant just laughs. The giant explains that whilst most giants eat human beans, The BFG prefers eating snozzcumbers and has no interest in eating her but the other nine man-eating giants outside of his cave most certainly will if they see her. The nine other giants are not so nice though and are twice the size of The BFG, who spends his days catching dreams, letting loose with the most tremendously loud whizzpoppers (farts to you and me), and eating the vilest food ever created in the form of snozzcumbers. As giants need very little sleep, he spends his nights blowing good dreams into the windows of sleeping children (at least he is not blowing whizzpoppers through the windows).
The other giants don’t even have as nice and friendly names as The BFG, they are:
- The Fleshlumpeater
- The Bloodbottler
- The Manhugger
- The Meatdripper
- The Childchewer
- The Butcher Boy
- The Maidmasher
- The Bonecruncher
- The Gizzardgulper
Sophie is told, in muddled speech (the giants speak in a language known as Gobblefunk), that she is now in Giant Country for the rest of her life as if she were to be taken back home she would tell everybody about the giants, and they would be hunted. If that wasn’t upsetting enough, she is also told that the nine 50ft man-eating giants just outside the door travel to different countries throughout the world every night devouring human beans (that would be human beings in English), especially children human beans.
Sophie is appalled at the news of the giants travelling around devouring chidlers (children) and hatches a plan with The BFG to visit London and the Queen and stop the other giants.
Overall, bash my eyebrows, The BFG is an excellent GIANT of a story that young readers will find delumptious. With Dahl’s expressive and inventive use of language, children will love the tale of Sophie, The BFG and the nine man-eating giants.
Whilst it is a dark tale of child kidnap, bullying (The BFG is bullied by the other giants because he is a lot smaller than them and doesn’t eat human beans), man-eating giants and friendship, the story is delightfully told using eight year old Sophie as the brave, sassy, intelligent and curious hero.
If I were to speak like The BFG in Gobblefunk then I is thunking that this is an excellent tale of friendship and doing what is right, one that even Dahl’s Chickens may enjoy – sorry, that pesky giant again, I obviously mean Charles Dickens.
A very clever story with interesting and well-developed characters written with Dahl’s trademark dark humour and expressive use of language that we all love. You will have to read it and let me know Am I Right or Am I left (if you can’t speak in Gobblefunk, that means right or wrong).
RRP: £9.99 (Hardback) / £6.99 (Paperback) / £4.99 (Kindle)
Available to buy from Amazon here.