I got a little behind on my reading this week due to some non-writing commitments, but there’s a book I’ve been wanting to feature for a while that’s a favorite from childhood–THE BFG. Earlier this year, I kept seeing people post questions about their favorite books as children. Honestly, I could think of very few books I read as an 8 to 12-year-old that could actually be classified as middle grade. What usually comes to mind are Nancy Drew, the Babysitters Club or the Boxcar Children. But then there’s this one…
The BFG is no ordinary bone-crunching giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, the Fleshlumpeater, the Bonecruncher, or any of the other giants–rather than the BFG–she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that they are flush-bunking off to England to swollomp a few nice little chiddlers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!
Here are the five things I love most about THE BFG:
1. Staying power – Earlier this year, I was thinking about that book the teacher read out loud to us in fourth grade, the one with the giants and dreams in jars. I couldn’t remember what it was called, and then an agent listed it as one of her favorites, and it clicked. I immediately went out and got it because if I remember the story from twenty years ago, it’s obviously something worth reading again. I loved it just as much in my thirties as I did at age 10. I can’t wait to read it to my kids in a few years.
2. The illustrations – This book runs a bit younger than most of the MGs I read, but it’s no less captivating. I love the way the artwork is integrated into the story. I certainly could have pictured the scenes from the descriptions, but the illustrations enhance the reading experience.
3. The dialogue – Roald Dahl gives the giant such a unique way of talking. I love the way he twists words around. It’s so clever. I read it and think I would never come up with something like that, but I’m so glad the author did.
“‘The human bean,’ the Giant went on, ‘is coming in dillions of different flavours. For instance, human beans from Wales is tasting very whooshey of fish. There is something very fishy about Wales.’
‘You mean whales,’ Sophie said. ‘Wales is something quite different.’
‘Wales is whales,’ the Giant said. ‘Don’t gobblefunk around with words. I will now give you another example. Human beans from Jersey has a most disgustable woolly tickle on the tongue,’ the Giant said. ‘Human beans from Jersey is tasting of cardigans.’
4. The creativity – Snozzcumbers, frobscottle, whizzpoppers. Everything is crazy and a bit upside down, but it works because Roald Dahl is so masterful at building the world. What kid wouldn’t love this book?
5. The dream jars – I love that the BFG catches and gives out dreams. Something about that stuck with me all these years. It’s unique but also important to the final outcome of the story since he ends up using dreams to defeat the other giants.
As much as I love this book, I confess I haven’t read any others by Roald Dahl. Do you have a favorite I should add to my TBR list?
One of my daughters used to read this book but I haven’t read it. I do like some of Roald Dahl’s short stories, like, Tales of the Unexpected, (for adults) and of course the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
I’m familiar with many of his stories–like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I just haven’t read them. I’ll have to check out the short stories, too.
I have yet to read this, but my son has (and he’s also read most of Roald’s other books — most of which I have not). And I have no excuse. I truly do love when a book has staying power because it indicates such power in the writing.
Yes. This one has stayed with me since I was a kid waiting for the teacher to read the next chapter. That has to be the highest kind of praise.
I’ve read quite a few of Roald Dahl’s books and have to agree about his wondrous creativity and those whizzpopping words he made up. Such an imagination! This one isn’t my most favorite of his (that would be James and the Giant Peach), but it’s definitely up there on the list.
I’ve heard many good things about James and the Giant Peach. Someday I’ll get around to that one.