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Updated on April 1, 2015


'The BFG' is a highly amusing book and one that children and adults alike really enjoy reading.

Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer, fighter pilot and screenwriter and the BFG one of his best and most loved books.

The BFG - The Story

The Big Friendly Giant

The BFG (short for "Big Friendly Giant") is a children's book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. It was first published in 1982. An animated film based on the book was released in 1989 with David Jason providing the voice of the BFG and Amanda Root as the voice of Sophie.

The story is about a little girl named Sophie, a name inspired by the author's granddaughter Sophie Dahl. One night when Sophie can't fall asleep during the "witching hour", she sees a giant blowing something into the bedroom windows down the street. The giant notices her; although she tries to hide in her bed, he reaches through the window and carries her away to his home in giant country.

Fortunately for Sophie, she has been abducted by the world's only benevolent giant, the Big Friendly Giant or BFG. Operating in the strictest secrecy, the BFG catches good dreams. With the help of his giant ears he can hear dreams and their contents (which manifest themselves in misty Dream Country as floating, blob-like objects) and blow them via a trumpet-like blowpipe into the bedrooms of children. When he catches a nightmare, he explodes it, bottles it forever, or sometimes uses it to start fights among his neighboring mean giants. The BFG has a very pleasant character, often misusing words and having difficulty in grammar. He often writes down mixtures of dreams for children.

The other giants are not so pleasant; each night they go out into the world to steal and eat "human beans", especially children. There is little else for them to eat where they live; the BFG, because he refuses to eat people, must survive on a revoltingly bitter and sour vegetable known as a snozzcumber. Luckily he is also able to make a delicious drink called frobscottle, which is fizzy and infinitely refreshing. It is rather unusual in that the bubbles in the drink travel downwards and therefore cause the drinker to 'whizzpop'.

Sophie and the BFG become friends. Eventually, Sophie persuades the BFG that something must be done to stop the anthropophagous, or cannibalistic, giants. Together they develop a plan to get the Queen of England to help them. The BFG mixes a dream which will show the Queen what the giants do; when complete, it is the worst nightmare she has ever encountered. They set off for Buckingham Palace and blow the dream into the Queen's bedroom. The BFG then leaves Sophie on the Queen's windowsill and retreats into the palace gardens to hide.

When the Queen awakens, Sophie tells her that all of her dream was true. Because the dream included the knowledge that Sophie would be there when she woke up, the Queen believes her and speaks with the BFG. After considerable effort by the palace staff to create a table, chair and cutlery of appropriate size for him to use, the BFG is given a lavish breakfast, and the Queen begins work on eliminating the other giants. She calls the King of Sweden and the Sultan of Baghdad to confirm the BFG's story-- the giants having visited those locations on the previous two nights--then summons the head of the Army and the Marshal of the Air Force. The said officers, though initially belligerent and skeptical, are brought to cooperate.

Eventually a huge fleet of helicopters follows the BFG to the giants' homeland. While the child-eating giants are asleep, the Army ties them up, hangs them under the helicopters, and after a brief struggle with the Fleshlumpeater, flies them to London, where a special large pit has been constructed from which they will not be able to escape.

A book review of The BFG - I hope this inspires you to read the book.

Teaching ideas

novels and stories by significant children's authors

The BFG can be used as a class text to teach about Novels and Stories by significant authors (Literacy Framework Year 5). Suggested activities include:

- Children to compose book reviews based on the book (Strand 8. Engaging with and responding to texts

Reflect on reading habits and preferences and plan personal reading goals.)

- Children can analyse how the author hooks the reader through an engaging opening chapter . (Strand 8 Engaging with and responding to texts: Compare the usefulness of techniques such as visualisation, prediction and empathy in exploring the meaning of texts)

- Children can understand how an author creates a character through vivid description. (Strand 8 Engaging with and responding to texts: Compare the usefulness of techniques such as visualisation, prediction and empathy in exploring the meaning of texts)

-Children can create their own character, for example, a new giant character. (The Bogeygobbler or The Junkeater?)

-Children can explore how dialogue is used to allow the reader to empathise with characters and situations (ties in with Strand 11: Punctuate sentences accurately, including using speech marks and apostrophes)

-In groups children can plan to find out more about Roald Dahl/other significant authors using a variety of sources. (Strand 3. Group discussion and interaction:

-Plan and manage a group task over time using different levels of planning

-Understand different ways to take the lead and support others in groups

-Understand the process of decision making)

-Children can use what they have learnt to create their own stories. (Strand 9. Creating and shaping texts: Experiment with different narrative forms and styles to write their own stories)

There is so much you can do based around this one story; children in my class loved exploring The BFG.

Roald Dahl Books and Merchandise - Great Stuff on Amazon

Funny 'langwitch'

The BFG talks utter nonsense at times; here is some of the funny langwitch featured in this weird and wonderful story!

BFG Words:

human bean

tough and rumble







telly-telly bunkum box


norphan / norphanage poisnowse



strawbunkles and cream





skin and groans




The BFG poll

Is The BFG the best Roald Dahl book.

See results

If you love The BFG or just have a comment to make about this lens or the book, then please write here.

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    • profile image

      jennabeezer 4 years ago

      My third-grade teacher, Mrs. Mackay, read this book aloud to our class. I credit her for kick-starting my lifelong love of literature. I especially enjoyed your "funny langwitch" section - brought back fond memories from my childhood. I'm excited to share this story with my daughter in a few more years.

    • Baddew Fibes profile image

      Baddew Fibes 5 years ago

      Read to me in school 30 years ago....I still use some of the phrases (human bean etc) now.

    • orange3 lm profile image

      orange3 lm 6 years ago

      One of my favorites :)

    • christopherwell profile image

      christopherwell 6 years ago

      Great lens!

    • nickupton lm profile image

      nickupton lm 6 years ago

      The BFG is a great book for kids. I have added this to my lens about another Roald Dahl book, The Twits.

    • FlynntheCat1 profile image

      FlynntheCat1 7 years ago

      Oh goodness, the BFG - the video scared me a lot when i was little! It was good though :D

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      boss book!!

      really can't decide on my favourite Roald Dahl book tho...

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Love the BFG - had my dad read it to me and also we had the video!! hahaha! Awesome film :o)

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      I loved the BFG when I was little.

    • nickupton lm profile image

      nickupton lm 7 years ago

      Roald Dahl's books are great. The Twits and George's Marvellous Medicine are my favourites.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Did you know that some of roald fabl's characters were based upon people he knew. E.g Sophie in the bfg was based upon his granddaughter Sophie dahl!

    • bconnor11 profile image

      bconnor11 7 years ago

      Roald Dahl is an amazing author. I have to admit that I preferred Matilda, but I did love BFG as well.

    • life-saver profile image

      life-saver 7 years ago

      @Linda BookLady: Thanks Linda! I am glad you like the lens! It was my first attempt at making one! Keep an eye out for any more lenses I create.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      @Linda BookLady: The BFG is a great book - this lens gives some very good idea's for teachers and how they can use the book!

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 7 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Excellent children's book lens! Children's books are one of my niches here in Squidoo so I love to read about them. I'm blessing your lens today.

      By the way, welcome to Squidoo!


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