In her second review Marshmallow shares her thoughts on an old favorite: Roald Dahl’s The BFG.
Marshmallow’s quick take: If you like stories about orphans, or if you are a fan of Roald Dahl, then this might possibly be the book for you.
Marshmallow’s summary (with spoilers): When Sophie is snatched out of her bed during the witching hour by some unseen horror that stifles her scream for help with a gigantic thumb and carries her to some unknown land, naturally she thinks that she is going to die. (The unseen horror turns out to be a giant, the Big Friendly Giant from the title of the book.) But when the giant starts a conversation about how human beans (beings) taste like, how Turks taste like turkey, and how people from Jersey taste like cardigans, and how Greeks taste greasy, she is very confused. At the end of the conversation, the giant proclaims that he does not eat “human beans” for snacks, and Sophie feels better.
“What a strange and moody creature this is, she thought. One moment he is telling me my head is full of squashed flies and the next moment his heart is melting for me because Mrs. Clonkers locks us in the cellar.”
Sophie soon learns that the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is the only friendly giant in the Land of Giants; all the others eat humans. Sophie thinks the BFG is “strange and moody”, but soon they become very good friends. The BFG is gentle and kind. Sophie is lonely.
In the afternoon, they see the other giants galloping off to England to eat people. (They apparently just grab them and eat them on the spot!) The giants always tell the BFG where they are going. For example, “We is off to Mrs Sippi and Miss Souri to guzzle them both!”
Sophie and her new friend the BFG need to stop this massacre of human beans. Can the Queen of England help?
Marshmallow’s Review:I think that The BFG is a good book. It poses a lot of philosophical questions. For example: Are the giants that eat humans much worse than we are? At some point (page 71 in my edition of the book), Sophie says, “I think it’s rotten that those foul giants should go off every night to eat humans. Humans have never done them any harm.” The BFG answers, “That is what the little piggy-wig is saying every day. He is saying ‘I has never done any harm to the human bean so why should he be eating me?`”
“That is what the little piggy-wig is saying every day,” BFG answered. “He is saying `I has never done any harm to the human bean so why should he be eating me?`”
The illustrations by Quentin Blake help the reader imagine the characters in the story, especially how much bigger the giants are from the human beans. They are bigger than the BFG and Blake’s drawings help us see that.
This is a good book, but it can be frightening for kids younger than five. Sophie gets kidnapped by a giant at the beginning of the story, right from her bedroom in the middle of the night. When I was about five and my mom wanted to read this to me, I got really scared and so we had to stop reading.
Marshmallow’s rating: 90%.