The Big Friendly Giant is unlike other giants. For a start, he doesn't like to eat people and it's not long before he becomes orphan Sophie's very best friend.
The BFG was written in 1982. The idea for the story had begun several years before, with a sentence scribbled in one of Roald Dahl's Ideas Books - exercise books he used to write down some of the thoughts that came to him and were sometimes later turned into stories. Just like The BFG.
The idea of a giant who captured dreams and kept them in bottles for children to enjoy while they were asleep was one Roald had been thinking about for some time. In Danny the Champion of the World, he was the character in a bedtime story Danny's father told him. And Roald had even told the story of The Big Friendly Giant to his own children, climbing up on a ladder outside his daughters' bedroom and using a bamboo cane to pretend to blow happy dreams in through their window.
In The BFG, the dream-hunting giant takes orphan Sophie - named after Roald's first grandchild - back to his cave in Giant Country, where he lives surrounded by nine other fearsome giants who spend every night guzzling down humans. Or, as the giants call them, human beans.The BFG speaks in quite a turned-around way, but we always understand him. His language is called gobblefunk. He tells Sophie:
"Words...is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around."
Roald wrote down a whole list of words The BFG might use, including "whoppsy-whiffling" and "squeakpip". This list of words and the Ideas Books are now housed in theRoald Dahl Museum and Story Centre in Roald's home town of Great Missenden - and the Museum is also just down the road from a house that inspired the orphanage The BFG snatches Sophie from in the story.
The BFG won the Federation of Children's Book Groups Award in 1982. In 1989 it was turned into an animated film featuring the voice of David Jason. More than 30 years later, The BFG remains a much-loved character. And of all his stories, Roald Dahl said that The BFG was probably his own favourite.
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