The BFG

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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine.

Plot Summary

Eight-year-old Sophie peers out the window of her orphanage one night and sees something terrifying. A huge, dark shadow is coming down the street. A gigantic hand reaches through the window and plucks her from her bed. She squirms as the giant man holding her hurries to his cave in Giant Land.

Sophie soon discovers the giant isn’t planning to eat her as she’d feared. He is a big, friendly giant (or BFG). Unlike the other nine much larger and more horrifying giants that live in Giant Land, the BFG is fairly civilized. While the others are big, smelly, hairy and wear loincloths, he dresses in regular clothes. While they scour the world each night in search of people to devour, he doesn’t eat humans. But like all the giants, he has a strange, mixed up way of speaking that sometimes baffles the little girl.

The BFG tells Sophie if she wants to be safe, she must never let the other giants know she exists. He feels sad for her as she tells him about losing her parents and the sorrows of orphanage life. She asks him what he was doing in her town, walking the streets at night with a long, thin trumpet and a suitcase. He explains that he can hear things very keenly with his big ears. He can even hear dreams floating in the air. He collects them and, with his trumpet, blows good dreams into children’s rooms at night.

A giant named Bloodbottler enters the BFG’s cave, and Sophie hides inside an unpleasant vegetable called a snozzcumber. Bloodbottler takes a bite of the snozzcumber and spits it out, spewing Sophie across the room. After the unsuspecting Bloodbottler leaves, the BFG cleans Sophie off. The two begin hatching a plan to get rid of the other giants.

One day after being tossed around by the other giants as they would a toy, the BFG takes Sophie with him to Dream Country. He shows her how he catches dreams with his net and bottles them, labeling them so he’ll know what each is about. He even catches one bad dream and gives it to a giant named Fleshlumpeater back home. The giant’s thrashing during his nightmare ignites a brawl between the nine giants but still does nothing to eliminate them.

Sophie suggests they tell the Queen of England how the giants are snatching and eating people. She and the BFG decide to create a dream for the queen. In it, the queen will see giants eating English children. The dream will tell her about the BFG and how he can help her capture the giants. Finally, the dream will reveal a little girl sitting on her windowsill, who will lead the queen to the BFG. Once she awakens, she will find Sophie on her windowsill and know the dream was true. The giant mixes many dreams together to get just the right story for the queen’s dream.

The plan goes off without a hitch, and the surprised queen allows Sophie to introduce her to the BFG. After the queen makes arrangements for Sophie and the BFG to have breakfast with her, she calls a few other countries to confirm that they, like England, have had groups of humans go missing in the past few days. She is convinced the BFG’s story is true.

The queen sends her military with nine helicopters to follow Sophie and the BFG to Giant Land. The sleeping giants are tied up and carried by helicopter back to England, where an enormous pit has been dug to contain them. The BFG brings his collection of dreams back to England with him, as well as a bag of the horrible snozzcumbers. He says he will help the royal gardener grow them so the giants can eat them forever.

World leaders send gifts of thanks to the BFG and Sophie. The queen has a special home built for the BFG and a cottage next door for Sophie. The BFG also gets a special room for storing his dreams, and people all over the world write him letters asking him to visit them. Tourists come at feeding time to hear the giants eat their snozzcumbers. The only tragedy occurs when three drunk men climb over the safety fence and fall in to the giant pit. Sophie teaches the BFG to read and write properly. As the book ends, readers discover the author is the BFG.

Christian Beliefs

The BFG tells one of the giants to say his prayers as the BFG pretends to remove a viper from the brute’s leg.

Other Belief Systems

Lying in the darkness, Sophie remembers how someone once told her about the witching hour. They said it was a moment in the middle of the night when all the dark things came out of hiding and had the world to themselves. The BFG tells Sophie that giants aren’t born. They simply appear, the same way as the moon and the stars. The BFG collects dreams to give to children. He takes Sophie into Dream Country and shows her how to catch and bottle them. Later, he and Sophia give the queen a dream of giants eating English children and how the BFG can help her capture the giants.

Authority Roles

Sophie’s parents died when she was a baby. Mrs. Clonkers, who runs the orphanage where she lives, punishes the children by locking them in a dark, rat-filled cellar without food or drink. The gentle BFG protects and cares for Sophie, who thinks of him as a father. Despite the strange circumstances, the queen handles the BFG’s visit with decorum. She wants to ensure justice is done, but she refuses to set a bad example by ordering the giants be murdered.

Profanity & Violence

The words gosh, darn and golly appear once or twice.

Sexual Content

The BFG kisses Sophie on the cheek.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments

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*Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book’s

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