A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that there's no more to be concerned about here than in your average fairy tale. Giants eat kids offstage and talk about how tasty they are, which might bother very sensitive kids. The made-up language, though, will be difficult for the lower end of the target age group to read themselves, so it works best as a read-aloud.
What's the story?
One night when Sophie can't sleep, she goes to the window of her orphanage and sees a giant walking down the street, blowing something into the windows. When the giant sees her, he grabs her and takes her back to his desert cave home.
There he explains, in his strange and garbled English, that he was blowing dreams into the minds of children, and that the other giants who live in the desert -- and are twice his size -- eat children all over the world. He, though, is the Big Friendly Giant (BFG), and eats nothing but disgusting snozzcumbers. But when the other giants head to England to eat children, Sophie hatches a plan, involving dreams, the Queen of England, and the BFG, to stop them once and for all.
Is it any good?
Each of the late Roald Dahl's whoppsy-whiffling stories has some unique element that sets it apart, both from his other works and from those of anyone else. Here it's language -- sheer, unadulterated, silly playing with language. The BFG speaks most terrible wigglish -- after all, he has never been to school, and "sometimes is saying things a little squiggly." Everything he wants to say "is always getting squiff-squiddled around."
All of this babblement makes this a delightful read-aloud, both for the listener, and for the adult reader who can let go of inhibitions and have fun with the twitch-tickling wordplay. And, while your child is rolling on the floor, if you're not as quacky as a duckhound, if your head isn't full of frogsquinkers, buzzwangles, and bugwhiffles, then you'll soon understand why "upgoing bubbles is a catasterous disastrophe."
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