Part of me was completely shocked when I realised that I had never read The BFG. Surely I had read it, it is a quintessential part of childhood! But when I thought about it I didn’t even know the plot. Turns out I had missed out on one of the most important children’s stories ever written.
Before I get into the review I would like to make an observation about The BFG and that is I haven’t been able to find a second hand copy of it anywhere. I have been looking since I started this challenge nearly 2 years ago and I have never come across a copy of The BFG for sale in any charity shop, church fete, second hand book stall or jumble sale. In the end I borrowed the copy I read from the library. From this fervent search all I can conclude is that people hold onto their copy of The BFG because it holds fond memories for them and has sentimental value. It is possible that I have just been unlucky but I like to think that many people can’t bear to part from the beloved BFG.
So the review. A little orphan girl named Sophie wakes one night in The Witching Hour to see an enormous Giant blowing a mysterious trumpet through the windows of children’s bedrooms. Before she knows it this terrifying giant has snatched her from her bed and carried her of to Giant Country. There she learns that the terrifying giant is really the BFG; the Big Friendly Giant and he refuses to eat ‘human beans’ as a matter of principle. Sophie and the BFG hatch a plan to stop the other horrible giants stealing people to eat in the dead of night and it takes them on a journey to meet the Queen.
Roald Dahl is fabulous; everyone knows that. But this book for me held much more charm than almost every other work of his I have read. I think it is the relationship between Sophie and the BFG that make it so special. If you know anything about Roald Dahl it becomes quite obvious that Sophie, is his granddaughter and the BFG is himself. This relationship gives it a warmth that I have only felt previously in James and the Giant Peach.
There is also a fabulous linguistic element to this book because it is a little like an exercise in learning to read. Dahl uses a lot of nonsense words which of course are very useful in teaching children phonetics and how to sound out a word they don’t know. He also makes the BFG speak with poor grammar saying “they is” instead of “they are” and other common mistakes children make. Theses devices make it an even better children’s book because it encourages learning as well as imagination.
I also love the inclusion of HRH Elizabeth II. It is incredibly comforting to think that the Queen can sort out any problem with a few commands and the help of the army and air force.
I really recommend this book. It is a dream and I only wish that I had grown up with it and come to treasure the BFG as so many other appear to.
Would recommend to: children everywhere.