Updated: Oct 9, 2021
My wife and I were dragging our feet when it came to reading The BFG aloud to our kids. We hadn't heard many people talk about Ronald Dahl's classic and neither one of us had read it as a kid. At first glance, the book seemed like it might be a bit too much for our young boys. I mean, giants that devour people? You're talking about the stuff that nightmares are made of!
After seeing the BFG on booklist after booklist for best family read alouds, we decided to give it a shot. And boy, I am so glad we did! What a delightful book for kids (and adults) of all ages. Lovable characters. Page turning action. Hilarious dialogue. All things that are perfect for reading aloud to kids!
We loved Sophie's bravery and the BFG's frequent language mishaps. And who could forget the Inception-esque plan of using dreams to enlist the queen in defeating the human-gobbling giants? It's all just so well done. We have now read two of Ronald Dahl's classics (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG), and it is clear through each of these books that he truly did understand children. You can see his firm grasp on childhood in the Big Friendly Giant who, at the end of the day, acts and talks like a giant child (even to the point of finding humor in farting...um...I mean, whizzpopping).
But it doesn't end there. Ronald Dahl also ignites the imagination and makes it easy for us to believe in giants. I truly think that there is a part of my boys that wouldn't be surprised if they awoke to an enormous trumpet blowing a dream into their bedrooms. If imagination is a muscle to be exercised, Ronald Dahl provided our family with the weight to strengthen it. Our Big Friendly Giant knows us human beans (beings) all too well. He says:
"The matter with human beans is that they is absolutely refusing to believe in anything unless they is actually seeing it right in front of their own schnozzles." -The BFG
Ronald Dahl isn't okay with this and he did his best to make us believe.
All of these aspects of The BFG make it the classic that it is, but one of my favorite parts of The BFG was how it gave our family a shared language. Even though we are finished reading the book, we still talk about whizzpoppers. We share how our favorite drink is now Frobscottle and instead of wondering if something is right or wrong, we ponder whether it is right or left. Our inside jokes are plentiful now that we have been on the journey together.
When the story had come to an end, we set a date for a party large enough for a giant. We made an enormous platter full of eggs, bacon, and toast (similar to what the BFG ate in the queen's palace). We made a batch of Frobscottle. And we queued up Steven Spielberg's retelling of our family's new favorite story. Below are some of the pictures from our celebration fit for a giant. I hope it inspires you to take your own journey into giant country.
We found a recipe for frobscottle online. You can look that up HERE. We then put the frobscottle into a glass bottle with a cork to give it an authentic look. Search glass bottle with cork on Amazon to see some cool options.
Not knowing how the frobscottle would turn out, we also made another version with a raspberry simple syrup and cream soda. Both drinks tasted really good! Warning: There were lots of whizzpoppers happening after dinner...not sure if it was due to the frobscottle!
The snozzcumber was an English cucumber we found at the grocery. We were looking for the biggest, nastiest cucumber we could buy.
All of the food (eggs, bacon, and toast with jam) was placed on a big platter to mimic the BFG's plate when he eats at the palace. We all ate off of the big plate which was a fun (and messy) change of pace.
After dinner, we made some dream jars before bed. We bought cheap jars, glow sticks, and glitter at Walmart. We broke the glow sticks and cut them open (be very careful with this step and don't let kids do this on their own). Dump the glow sticks into the jars, add glitter, put on the lid, and shake them up! The boys loved using these dream jars as their night lights for the evening!