|Original Publication date||1982|
| Preceded by|
George's Marvellous Medicine(1981)
| Followed by|
The Witches (1983)
The BFG (short for "Big Friendly Giant") is a 1982 children's book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. It is an expansion of a short story from Dahl's 1975 book Danny, the Champion of the World The book is dedicated to Dahl's late daughter, Olivia, who died of measles encephalitis at age seven in 1962.
The story follows a young orphaned girl named Sophie, living in a girl's orphanage run by the cantankerous Mrs. Clonkers. One night, Sophie sees a cloaked giant blowing something via a trumpet-like object into a bedroom window down the street; whereupon the giant carries her to his homeland of Giant Country. There, he identifies himself as the Big Friendly Giant ('BFG'), who nightly blows bottled dreams into the bedrooms of children, and explains the other type of giants that eat humans, mostly children. Because the BFG refuses to eat people or steal food from humans, he subsists on a foul-tasting vegetable known as a snozzcumber.
Sophie and the BFG quickly become friends; but Sophie is soon put in danger by the sudden arrival of the Bloodbottler Giant, who suspects the BFG of harboring Sophie. Sophie hides in the snozzcumber, unknown to the BFG, and the BFG offers the snozzcumber to the Bloodbottler, hoping that its foul taste will repel him from the area; whereupon the Bloodbottler spits out the snozzcumber and Sophie, and leaves in disgust. When Sophie announces she is thirsty, the BFG treats her to a fizzy drink called frobscottle, which causes noisy flatulence: this is known as Whizzpopping. The next morning, the BFG takes Sophie to Dream Country to catch more dreams, but is tormented by the other giants along the way; notably by their leader, the Fleshlumpeater, the largest and most fearsome.
In Dream Country, the BFG demonstrates his dream-catching skills to Sophie; but the BFG mistakenly captures a nightmare, and uses it to start a fight among the other giants. Sophie later persuades him to approach the Queen of England toward imprisoning the other giants. To this end, the BFG creates a nightmare, introducing knowledge of the man-eating giants to the Queen, and leaves Sophie in the Queen's bedroom to confirm it. Because the dream included the knowledge of Sophie's presence, 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, the BFG is given a lavish breakfast, and the Queen telephones 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 British Army and the Marshal of the Royal Air Force. The said officers, though initially belligerent and skeptical, eventually agree to cooperate. Eventually, a fleet of helicopters follows the BFG to the giants' homeland, where the giants are tied up, suspended under the helicopters, and carried to England, where they are imprisoned in a pit. The only one not easily caught is the Fleshlumpeater; but he is soon tricked into allowing his own capture.
Afterwards, a huge castle is built as the BFG's new house, with a little cottage next door for Sophie. While they are living happily in England, the BFG writes a book of their adventures, which is then identified as the novel itself.
There was an animated series based on the book in 1989. It has also been adapted as a theatre performance. A live-action movie will be released in July 2016 and is directed by Steven Spielberg.