Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The BFG by Roald Dahl


Author: Roald Dahl
Publisher: Puffin Books (Original) Listening Library (Audio)
Year: 1982 (Original) 2016 (Audio & Movie)
Genre: Children's Fantasy Chapter Book
Age: JUV 10+

I originally read this book when I was a child & loved it, much like all of Dahl's others, Matilda being my favorite. With the movie coming out I figured I'd read it again & I decided to listen to it on audio during a recent trip. It didn't disappoint & was as fun as I remembered it being,The reader was very good & there was sound effects throughout which I really enjoyed. The movie was also spectacular! I'll include the book review & movie comparison below.
Sophie is an orphan living in London, her parents died when she was very young. She frequently can;t sleep at night & is up into the early hours of the morning, this time is refereed to as "The Witching Hour" it's the time when strange things happen. On this particular night Sophie sees a giant man with a trumpet going through the streets & peering into people's windows. The next thing she knows the giant has snatched Sophie & they are romping through the countryside.

They land in a very peculiar place that she learns is called Giant Country. The giant that took her is called the BFG or "Big Friendly Giant". The BFG isn't even the biggest giant around but he is the nicest. He doesn't eat humans at all like the others & he lives off of a disgusting vegetable called a snozcumber. He took Sophie because she had seen him & no human has ever done that. It isn't long before Sophie meets the other giants & almost gets eaten by one of them.

After escaping from the other giants Sophie learns what the BFG does during the day before he ventures into the city at night. The BFG goes out & collects dreams, he has quite the collection. Then he uses these dreams on people in London with his magic trumpet. The other giants go off at night to other countries & eat the human that they call "beans". People from different countries taste differently so they go all over the world. But Sophie wants to stop this practice...

Sophie hatches a plan to have the Queen of England help them defeat the giants & stop them from eating people forever. With the help of the BFG they create a special dream for the Queen to tell their story. From there the Queen agrees to use her army to help capture the giants & lock them up. It's a happy ending for everyone...except the giants!

Likes: The imagination in this story is astounding! From the dream catching to the BFG's misused words this is a fantasy story for all ages.

The sound effects in the audio version really enhanced the story. You can hear the BFG stomping through the countryside, the lid of a jar as it opens in the quiet of a London street at night, & even the distant humming of the dreams as they are being caught.

The giants getting what they deserve in the end is much like Dahl's other stories.

The movie adaptation of this story was amazing!

Dislikes: -


Movie-Book Comparison 

After recently listening to the book on audio & watching the new movie I decided to do a comparison between the two. Below are the differences I noticed & what I thought about them...

  • Taken
    • In the book Sophie sees the BFG using his trumpet when she first spots him, in the movie he's creeping around on the street & he sees Sophie in the orphanage.
      • This does not directly impact the story at all
  • Snozcumber
    • Absolutely disguisting in both formats!
      • I like that the movie depicted the vegetable accurately
  • Funny Talking
    • The BFG's mixed up words are present in both formats
      • It's funny to hear him talking in the movie & on the audiobook. He tries to get the words almost right but doesn't quite make it
  • Dream Storage
    • In the book the BFG just stores his dreams on a few shelves in his cave. In the movie he has a very elaborate storage area with thousands of dreams in a different part of the cave thats connected by a water feature. 
      • In the movie the whole story really comes to life so I like the dream storage depicted in the movie a lot better because it brings your thoughts to life on the screen
  • Landscape
    • The landscape in the book is almost desert like with yellow sand & blue rocks. Whereas in the movie it is more mountainous with green hills & rocks.
      • It would have been really interesting to see a landscape like the one from the books depicted in the movie, but the mountain area makes Giant Country seem less menacing 
  • Giants
    • In the book the giants don't wear clothes except for loin cloths & in the movie they each have their own outfts to go with their personality
      • This change does not really impact the story overall, it just adds to the imagination in the movie
  • Frogscottle
    • Fabulous in both formats! It's hard to believe that snozcumbers create this great drink when they are awful
      • In the movie the BFG gives everyone at the palace some when him & Sophie are with the Queen. It makes for an entertaining visit & it really adds to the story much like that giants clothes & the dreams
  • Almost Eaten
    • In the movie Sophie climbs into the snozcumber to avoid detection by one of the giants. In the book she does the same thing but ends up in the giants mouth, almost eaten!
      • The terror of almost being eaten in the book makes your heart race, but the scene in the movie was close enough to be scary 
  • Dreamland
    • Getting dreams is slightly different in both formats. The movie uses more imagination in the dreamland & the dreams themselves adding to the overall story. 
      • I love the dreamland & the dreams in the movie, they are beautiful, fun, & full of life!
  • Can You Hear Me Now?
    • The BFG's enormous ears were depicted well in both formats.
  • Dream Types
    • The same types of dreams are spoken about & used in both formats.
      • Seeing the BFG mix the dreams in the movie was really fun!
  • Sophie
    • In the movie the BFG takes Sophie back to the orphanage so the giants don't find her. Sophie ends up talking him into taking her back to help him defeat the giants. The giants in turn find Sophie's blanket & sniff her out, destroying the BFG's cave.
      • The book does not include this, in the book they just use the dream to get the Queen to help them. Overall it just shows how different the BFG is compared to the other giants & it also makes you feel bad when all his hard work is destroyed in the movie giving you a deeper connection to him. 
  • The Queen
    • Sophie has an idea to have the Queen help them defeat the giants using a dream in both formats
  • The End
    • In the book the giants are captured by the Queen's army & put into a giant hole in the middle of London as a spectacle. The BFG becomes the official dreamblower of London & gets a house near the palace. But in the movie the giants are out on a remote island in the middle of the ocean & Sophie gets adopted by the Queen.
      • I think that the time the book was written & the movie came out has a lot to do with this ending. At the time the book was written & in the UK I feel like that was an appropriate ending to put the giants in the hole. I like that Sophie is adopted by the Queen in the movie, it was a happy ending for everyone. 

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