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Review of The BFG

dahl_bfgThe BFG
by Roald Dahl; illus. by Quentin Blake
Intermediate     Farrar     221 pp.
1982     0-374-30469-6     $10.95

The BFG is a big friendly giant who kidnaps the orphan Sophie right out of her bed one dark night. He takes her back to Giant Country, the land of the horrible giants Fleshlumpeater, Childchewer, and the rest. All of these creatures eat “human beans,” which come “‘in dillions of different flavors. For instance, human beans from Wales is tasting very whooshey of fish. There is something very fishy about Wales.'” Sophie and the vegetarian BFG are appalled by this — the BFG’s vocation is catching dreams, usually nice ones, and giving them to children — and together they hatch an outrageous scheme to visit the Queen of England. A very sensible lady, she believes their story and sends help to catch the giants. Everything about the BFG is fascinating and unusual: for example, he eats nothing but the “‘the repulsant snozzcumber'” and is shocked that human beans kill other human beans; but the giant’s speech is a tour de force in itself. The BFG says. “‘One of the biggest chatbags is the cattypiddlers….They is argying all the time about who is going to be the prettiest buttery fly.'” In the flamboyant and fast-moving fantasy the ridiculous situations, the indelicate allusions, and the wickedly funny speech of the giant, all exactly set forth in the exuberant illustrations, will undoubtedly provoke unseemly gales of merriment. ANN A. FLOWERS

From the April 1983 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

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