The BFG

by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Read time: about 7 minutes

I seem to be on a roll! After Matilda I immediately picked up The BFG. I do not think I can ever get over Roald Dahl! The BFG is very different from Matilda but similar. It is again a story of a little girl who is the main protagonist. But here in this book we get to meet many other people such as several bone crunching, flesh eating, scary giants, one really friendly giant and of course, the queen of England! The whole idea of meeting the queen of England, even in a book, really drew me to the book.

Cover: The BFG

Cover page

I own a kindle copy of the book. On the cover I find a crooked eared big giant and a tiny young girl. Both of them seem to be very fond of each other. The cover is of movie edition, not something I like. I enjoy the beautiful illustrated covers of the book which I found on other books by Dahl. But I will make do with this one.

Characters

Sophie is our protagonist. She is an orphaned young girl. She is smart and sensitive. She is also brave and kind. This little girl will melt your hearts! We also get to meet the Big Friendly Giant from the Giant country who blows dreams into the children in the night when they sleep.

The Big Friendly Giant is a magical giant, and magical things are never seen; you just have to believe, and if you don’t believe in magic, then you will never find it.

This giant is not like other giants in the giant country who eat little children and adults. Other giants are twice as large as out big friendly giant but they are a nuisance. They visit different countries in the night to eat human beings.

We also get to meet the queen of England!

All the characters are given a voice of their own. They are very different from each other which displays the genius of the author. They are a delight to read about.

Content

Our child protagonist, Sophie, is walking around in the orphanage because she can’t sleep. And then suddenly she comes across a giant of the streets. She gets scared, runs to her room and covers herself with her bedsheet. But the giant spots her and steals her.

When the Giant had got Sophie outside, he arranged the blanket so that he could grasp all the four corners of it at once in one of his huge hands, with Sophie imprisoned inside. In the other hand he seized the suitcase and the long trumpet thing and off he ran.

The giant finally reaches his cave where he drops the blanket and Sophie steps out. Sophie is surprised to see the giant. She also looks around to find several jars of dreams on the shelf in the cave. Sophie learns about the big friendly giant and those others who are not as friendly.

‘Just because I is a giant, you think I is a man-gobbling cannybull!’ he shouted. ‘You is about right! Giants is all cannybully and murderful! And they does gobble up human beans! We is in Giant Country now! Giants is everywhere around! Out there us has the famous Bonecrunching Giant! Bonecrunching Giant crunches up two whoppsy-whiffling human beans for supper every night! Noise is earbursting! Noise of crunching bones goes crackety-crack for miles around!’

This giant here has never gone to school so he doesn’t know how to speak. He often jumbles up words and forms wrong sentences. But in all he is a friendly giant. As the story goes by Sophie dislikes how other giants are treating the BFG and eating other human beings. She devices a plan to save the people of England and that involves blowing a dream to the Queen of England.

It is a sweet story involving all magical things. Giants are not always bad, dreams are stored in jars to little children and a small child becomes the saviour. There is nothing to not love about the story. Coupled with Quentin Blake’s illustrations this book is everything you ever wished for in a children’s book!

Language

This is probably the best part of the book. I absolutely love how Roald Dalh tells his tales but he has surpassed all my expectations in this one. The different characters in the book are given different language. Each communication is funny as well as smart.

You will hear the talks of humanity mixed with the strange but funny language of the BFG.

‘Do not forget,’ the BFG said, ‘that human beans is disappearing everywhere all the time even without the giants is guzzling them up. Human beans is killing each other much quicker than the giants is doing it.’

‘Even poisnowse snakes is never killing each other,’ the BFG said. ‘Nor is the most fearsome creatures like tigers and rhinostossterisses. None of them is ever killing their own kind. Has you ever thought about that?’

There we find the queen telling us doing wrong does not justify the wrong already done. Then again the BFG agrees with it!

‘That is no reason why we should follow their example,’ the Queen said. ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right.’ ‘And two rights don’t make a left!’ cried the BFG.

The book is magical by itself but it is the writing that entertains you throughout!

Good points

The characters are beautifully written about. The story itself is magical beyond words! The language will keep you gripped throughout.

Bad points

I wish I owned a different cover. I do not like the movie-tie-in edition much.

Overall

The book is one of its kind. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Whom do I recommend this to

This is for those who enjoy some great magical tales and a good writing to go with it!

Quotable Quotes

‘Bonecrunching Giant only gobbles human beans from Turkey,’ the Giant said. ‘Every night Bonecruncher is galloping off to Turkey to gobble Turks.’

Sophie’s sense of patriotism was suddenly so bruised by this remark that she became quite angry. ‘Why Turks?’ she blurted out. ‘What’s wrong with the English?’

‘Never in a pig’s whistle!’ cried the BFG. ‘All of those man-eating giants is enormous and very fierce! They is all at least two times my wideness and double my royal highness!’

‘Dreams,’ he said, ‘is very mysterious things. They is floating around in the air like little wispy-misty bubbles. And all the time they is searching for sleeping people.’

‘Yesterday,’ he said, ‘we was not believing in giants, was we? Today we is not believing in snozzcumbers. Just because we happen not to have actually seen something with our own two little winkles, we think it is not existing.

‘That is what the little piggy-wig is saying every day,’ the BFG answered. ‘He is saying, “I has never done any harm to the human bean so why should he be eating me?”’ ‘Oh dear,’ Sophie said. ‘The human beans is making rules to suit themselves,’ the BFG went on. ‘But the rules they is making do not suit the little piggy-wiggies. Am I right or left?’

‘Us giants,’ the BFG whispered, ‘is not knowing very much about this dreaded human bean called Jack. We is knowing only that he is a famous giant-killer and that he is owning something called a beanstalk. We is knowing also that the beanstalk is a fearsome thing and Jack is using it to kill giants.’

Sophie took the book out of his hand. ‘Nicholas Nickleby,’ she read aloud. ‘By Dahl’s Chickens,’ the BFG said. ‘By who?’ Sophie said.

‘I has told you five or six times,’ he said, ‘and the third will be the last. I is never showing myself to human beans.’

‘Dreams like being mixed,’ the BFG answered. ‘They is getting very lonesome all by themselves in those glassy bottles.’

‘Dreams is full of mystery and magic,’ the BFG said. ‘Do not try to understand them.’

‘What’s wrong with the hens?’ the Queen said. ‘Nothing’s wrong with the hens, Your Majesty,’ Mr Tibbs whispered. ‘Then tell them to lay more,’ the Queen said. She looked up at the BFG. ‘Have some toast and marmalade while you’re waiting,’ she said to him.

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Veena Choudhary

An avid reader and history fanatic.

Mumbai, MH merakipost.com