Sophie is an orphan. One night, she notices something strange outside the dormitory window: a giant moves from house to house, pulls something out of his suitcase, and sticks a long instrument through the windows of sleeping children. The giant spies Sophie, picks her up and takes her home to his cave.
He turns out to be the Big Friendly Giant, or BFG, and they become friends. Sophie learns that the BFG blows dreams through children’s bedroom windows so they can sleep happily. She also learns that there are other giants, even bigger, but a lot less friendly – and they eat humans!
In order to stop the other giants from eating more children, Sophie and the BFG decide to win the Queen of England over as an ally.
The story about Sophie and the BFG is very charming and, while reading it, one immediately gets the impression that Dahl put a lot of effort into creating puns, but also had lots of fun while writing the book with his own kids in mind. In the introduction, his daughter Lucy tells how she first met the BFG in the nighttime stories her father used to make up. For me, this had the effect that I was kind of already drawn into a magical world before I even started reading the actual story.
Blake’s illustrations are an extra treat that make leafing through the book fun and bring Sophie and the BFG to life. I especially enjoyed the two-page pictures towards the end of the book.
The solution of the plot – asking the Queen for help – was overly simplistic for my taste, especially since it gives the impression that the solution to a problem is a monarch which should not be taught to children who grow up in a democratic society, but I guess that children up to a certain age would be absolutely fine with it.
All in all, the story is suitable for younger children, and there are even some activities like a quiz or a „draw your dream“ page at the end of the book. However, I believe that some of the puns that are tricky to understand therefore would be frustrating for learners of English after a while and put them off reading – and that’s exactly the opposite of what you want as a teacher.