by Claudia Rojas
Every good story imagines a world with surprises. The BFG, like many Roald Dahl tales, will have readers think twice about the existence of giants
One night, Sophie wakes up from her sleep while the rest of the orphan girls sleep undisturbed. On this night, she meets a Big Friendly Giant (BFG) and to her good luck, he doesn’t eat her. Soon enough, Sophie learns that other, bigger giants would not hesitate to eat her or the children of London. Things don’t look good when Sophie discovers the unfriendly giants of Giant Country. It will be up to this small, but smart girl and this helpful giant to protect London.
An unexpected friendship forms between Sophie and the BFG. Amongst caves, giant snozzcumber vegetables, and dream instruments, Sophie has more fun than ever before. This isn’t to say the experience is all fun and games: there are giants set out to eat humans! Readers, fortunately, are saved gross details. The scariest part is the danger posed by nine enormous and greedy giants.
My favorite part of the story, as both a grown up and reader, is the invented language. The BFG speaks in sloppy sentences with made-up words. In Giant Country, humans are called human beans and children are chiddlers. It is a fun read out loud and perfect for the screen.
Many reviewers are critical of the 2016 film version directed by Steven Spielberg, citing a shortage of magic and conflict. That is the thing with books turned movies–the movie can try to live up to expectations, but reading is such a personal experience, that not everyone will be pleased.
The BFG as a book is a Roald Dahl treasure and a delightful read for its intended audience, youth. Since its 1982 publication, the book has reached readers from different generations. The BFG includes references to the telly-telly bunkum box without the 21st technology of smartphones, laptops, and wireless earbuds. It is not a story of the human-made, but of human life and magic. While the story could use more suspense, the small human beans of the world won’t notice.
Sophie’s adventure in Giant Country is filled with close-calls and giant bullies. There is a lesson for all ages in the story. Smart ideas and courage are more powerful than fists.
The BFG gets 4.5 stars.