How does Sophie's English nationality and the setting of the novel in England influence the story?
If Sophie was not English, then the setting of the story would be completely different. It's outcome would also potentially be different. For example, if Sophie lived in the United States instead of England, she couldn't just ask the Queen of England for help. She would have to turn to the President of the United States for help instead. The many customs mentioned in the book would also be different. For example, many places around the world do not have tea like the English do.
What are the BFG's motives in taking, then helping Sophie?
The BFG is unlike other giants and believes that giants should not eat humans. He has formed a close friendship with Sophie and wants to help her because he does not want her, or others like her, to get hurt. His affection for humans has only intensified since becoming friends with Sophie.
Compare and contrast the BFG with the rest of the giants.
While the rest of the giants eat humans by the handful, the BFG does not. He prefers to live off of snozzcumbers, even though he doesn't like the taste of that vegetable. The BFG is principled in this way. Once he decided that he wasn't going to eat humans, there was no way he would change. He frowns on the other giants, who do.
The BFG is a gentle soul, collecting dreams and giving them to children. He is also kind to Sophie, as well as caring and loyal, betraying his emotional attachment to Sophie by giving her a kiss on the cheek before leaving her in the palace.
He is also talented, as seen by his super-human hearing.
The other giants are lazy and gluttonous, preferring to just eat humans and nap a little before throwing their youngest giant around. They are bullies and insensitive.
What role does the Queen play in this story?
The Queen facilitates the conclusion of the story. Without her assistance, Sophie and the BFG would have had a much more difficult time trying to stop nine raging giants. The Queen gives Sophie, an orphan, and the BFG, a giant, instant legitimacy in her world. She is respectful and kind to them, and treats them well, even though they are the ultimate outsiders. She verifies their story and then sets about making sure they can accomplish their goal.
Describe how the giants' thirst for humans leads to their downfall.
The other giants are so busy and excited to hunt humans in England that they do not see the BFG and Sophie also running towards England. The giants' single-mindedness has helped the BFG and Sophie on several other occasions. For example, when the Bloodbottler came into the BFG's house thinking he heard the BFG speaking with someone, he is easily distracted by the BFG appealing to his hunger. The BFG offers the Bloodbottler a snozzcumber, which he spits out in disgust and leaves quickly. This gets him out of the BFG's house and helps Sophie escape from his clutches.
Age Range: 5 - 11
By: Mark Warner
The well-loved story of a big friendly giant who spirits a child out of bed to the land of the child-eating giants. The BFG is one of Dahl's most lovable character creations. Whether galloping off with Sophie nestled into the soft skin of his ear to capture dreams as though they were exotic butterflies; speaking his delightful, jumbled, squib-fangled patois; or whizzpopping for the Queen, he leaves an indelible impression of big-heartedness.
Book Author: Roald Dahl
See More Books from this author
Teaching Ideas and Resources:
- Roald Dahl lists the characters (including humans and giants) in the book at the start. Could you write a sentence / paragraph to describe each one?
- The story begins with Sophie in a silent dormitory. Think of somewhere that is silent and think of words to describe how it feels to be there.
- Imagine what might happen in 'the witching hour'. Write a story about one of these things.
- Read the last sentences of the first chapter and predict what might be coming up the street.
- Roald Dahl uses lots of similes to describe the BFG ('an arm as thick as a tree trunk', and 'nose as sharp as a knife'). Can you make up some more?
- Imagine that you have just been picked up by a pair of giant hands. Write a story about what happens next (see Resources below).
- The BFG uses lots of made up words. Can you think of some more and say what they mean? Could you make a dictionary / glossary for your words?
- Think of words to describe snozzcumbers!
- Describe your favourite dream? What happened? How did it make you feel?
- Write some new labels for dream jars?(see Resources below).
- The giants are afraid of Jack, the famous giant-killer. Can you retell that story to a friend?
- BFG is an acronym. Can you find out other acronyms that people use? Could you make up some of your own?
- The BFG uses a book by Charles Dickens to learn how to write. Can you find out about this author?
- Write a recipe for a new dream. What 'ingredients' will you need? Think about the order that you will need to mix them in? Could you write some instructions to teach somebody else how to make this dream?
- Describe a dream that you would like to have... or think of a nice dream that you could mix for somebody else.
- Make an acrostic using the letters in 'The BFG' (see Resources below).
- Imagine that the BFG wrote another book. What might it be about?
- Listen to the audiobook version of the story. Could you record passages from the text using different accents / expression / sound effects to make it interesting to the listener?
- Read the play version of the story and prepare your own performance. You could also use this video for inspiration:
- Watch the cartoon version of the story. How does it compare to the book? Could you write a review of the book and the film?
- Think of words to describe each of the giants. Use this video for inspiration:
- Think about the measurements that we might use to work out how tall the BFG is. How could we measure how long his stride is?
- The BFG has enormous ears so that he can hear 'absolutely every single twiddly little thing'. Use this as a starting point for learning about sound and how we hear.
- The BFG describes how he can hear plants and trees because they are alive? How do we know that they are alive? What life processes do they have?
- The BFG hates eating snozzcumbers. Plan a tasty (and healthy) meal for him!
- Find out about dreams. What are they? Why do we have them?
- The bubbles in frobscottle go downwards, but bubbles in most drinks go upwards. Find out why drinks have bubbles and why they travel in the way that they do!
- Plan, record and edit a trailer for a new movie based on the book. Use this example for inspiration:
- Draw a new giant. Will it be friendly or nasty?
- Make a picture which shows the inside of the BFG's suitcase after he has been dream-catching.
- Draw a picture of a dream inside a jar (see Resources below).
- The BFG uses a trumpet to blow dreams into children's bedrooms. Find out how trumpets work and describe the sounds that they make.
- Listen to one of the songs from the film. Could you compose a song to use in a new movie adaptation of the book?
- The giants travel to lots of different places to find humans to gobble up. Can you identify some of them on a map? Could you find out about each country?
- Draw a map showing the locations in the story, e.g. the orphanage, the village street where Sophie first sees the BFG, Giant Country, Buckingham Palace.
- Draw a map of the giants' cave.
- If possible, go on a trip to the Roald Dahl Museum to find out more about the author and his life.
- The BFG dreams of having an 'elefunt' to ride through green forests on. What are your dreams?
- The BFG is picked on by the other giants. Use this as a starting point for discussions about bullying and how we can help those who are affected by it.
- The BFG explains that 'human beans is killing each other much quicker than the giants is doing it'. Think of ways of encouraging peace throughout the world.