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Book Club Kits: The BFG

Alamance County Public Libraries offer Book Club Kits for check out to area book clubs. Each kit contains 10 copies of a book and a reading guide.

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Roald Dahl

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Book Summary

The BFG is the story of a little orphan girl, Sophie, who late one night witnesses a giant outside her orphanage blowing something into the windows of houses on her street. Realizing he has been seen, the giant reaches into Sophie’s bedroom and snatches her, carrying her far away to his cave where he plans to hold her captive forever. It turns out that this Big Friendly Giant has been blowing dreams into the bedrooms of children all over the world.

The nine other giants living in this faraway land, however, are not so benevolent. In fact they are positively horrid, venturing out in the dark of night to gobble up boys and girls all over the world. When Sophie discovers that these gruesome creatures have left the very next night to eat several boys and girls in England, she and the BFG decide to plead their case to the Queen of England herself. To convince the queen they mix up a dream for her royal highness, so she will be convinced that their story is indeed true.

Gaining an audience with the queen, Sophie and the BFG’s story is quickly confirmed by the newspapers and the queen’s military men. The BFG and Sophie then lead an expedition back to the country of the giants to capture the nine cannibals and put them away forever.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why do you think things often seem more frightening in the middle of the night?
  2. Think of at least one disadvantage and one advantage to living in an orphanage.
  3. What is the setting of the first chapter? (Remember the setting of a story consists of the time and place.)
  4. How do we know from the story that when the scene opens, it is very late at night?
  5. What is the witching hour?
  6. What would happen to Sophie if she was caught out of bed after lights-out?
  7. What was unusual about the way the town looked when Sophie leaned out the window?
  8. What caused Sophie to freeze as she looked further down the street?
  9. Describe in more detail the figure she saw in the moonlight. What was he doing?
  10. Describe what happened to Sophie in the chapter “The Snatch”?
  11. What did Sophie feel was to be her fate?
  12. A literary device the author enjoys using is a simile (a comparison using like or as). An example of this is when the author writes, “She was bumped against the Giant’s leg like a sack of potatoes.” In this example, what two things are being compared?
  13. Come up with three similes of your own that have a definite BFG flavor.
  14. The last chapter ends as a real cliffhanger. We are not sure what will happen to poor Sophie. Predict what you think might happen to her in the next chapter.
  15. How can we be fairly certain that the giant won’t eat her up, as she is afraid of him doing?
  16. Having an exciting adventure is a most memorable experience. Why, however, can life’s adventures also be most unpleasant when we are living through them?
  17. Why did Sophie think that the giant had some sort of magic in his legs?
  18. How did Sophie prevent her head from being blown away on her trip to the giant’s cave?
  19. When the giant finally began to slow down, Sophie looked out to find that they were in a country of thick and rushing .
  20. Beneath what great structure did the giant finally come to a stop?
  21. Once inside the giant’s cave, what did Sophie think would happen to her?
  22. What unusual objects filled every nook and cranny of the cavern?
  23. From what country did Bonecruncher get his people to eat? Why?
  24. The people of which country were safe from being eaten by the giants? Why?
  25. According to the giant, what was peculiar about the taste of people from Denmark?
  26. Why did the giant consider himself to be a freaky giant?
  27. Most good stories have a villain or villains to make things more interesting. In literature a villain is called an antagonist. Think of another story you enjoyed that had a really memorable antagonist. What was there about this character that made him/her so memorable?
  28. Define compassion. What do you feel would be the benefits of feeling compassion for someone who is different or perhaps not as fortunate as yourself? Explain your answer.
  29. It has been said, “Each time we face our fear, we gain strength, courage, and confidence in the doing.” When do you think it is important to show courage?
  30. Describe an example of courage from your own life or the life of a friend.
  31. Describe the appearance and taste of the snozzcumber.
  32. Which of our vegetables does it look like?
  33. Explain how giants come to be.
  34. According to the BFG, what was the nicest present anyone had ever given him?
  35. Why did the BFG refuse to take the vegetables from the gardens near Sophie’s village?
  36. Why did Bloodbottler interrupt Sophie’s conversation with the BFG?
  37. Describe four things about Bloodbottler’s appearance.
  38. Why did the BFG encourage Bloodbottler to taste the snozzcumber?
  39. What was the result of Bloodbottler tasting the snozzcumber?
  40. Why did Bloodbottler eat human beans from Chile?
  41. Chapter 9 ends as a cliffhanger. Suggest a way that Sophie might make the other giants disappear.
  42. The BFG’s disagreement with Bloodbottler was very upsetting for both the BFG and Sophie. Tell about a time in your own life when you had a disagreement with another person. Describe how it made you feel.
  43. At the beginning of Chapter 9 the BFG lies by telling Bloodbottler that he is only “jabbeling to myself”. Yet at the conclusion of the previous chapter the BFG tells Sophie that he is “a very honorable giant”. Do you think he is indeed honorable if he tells lies to other giants? Defend your answer.

....Questions continued in book club kit packet....

Author Biography

Roald Dahl is one of the world’s most successful and popular writers of novels for young readers. He is the author of other classics such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny the Champion of the World, and James and the Giant Peach. The BFG is another story told by this master storyteller. Shortly before his death in 1990, the top five selling children’s books in Great Britain were all authored by Dahl.
Roald Dahl was born in Llandaff, Wales, in 1916 to Norwegian immigrants. He was the only boy and the third child of five in the family. Despite the death of his father when he was only four, Roald claimed his childhood was happy and eventful. Although he excelled at sports he was not a good student and didn’t enjoy his early school days. During World War II he flew for the Royal Air Force and was badly injured when he crashed his fighter plane during a dangerous mission.
Dahl married the actress Patricia Neal in 1953. They had five children together but were divorced thirty years later. Although quite a successful short story writer (with several featured on television), he wrote his first children’s book in 1961 – James and the Giant Peach. This was followed by several best-sellers, including The BFG (1982). The BFG was also made into an animated film in 1989.
Roald died in November 1990 at the age of 74 of a rare blood disease. In Great Britain the anniversary of Dahl's birthday on September 13 has recently become widely celebrated as Roald Dahl Day.