When my tutor told me that The BFG by Roald Dahl is an often read book in Year 7, I was a bit sceptic. I cannot remember reading the book myself, which means that at one point my parents must have read it to me. I thought: ‘How is it possible that high school students still read such a childish book?’
I have to say I couldn’t be more wrong. I think the book is excellent to use either at the end of year 6 or at the start of year 7. The story of the book is fairly simple; Giants eat humans apart from this special one (the BFG). Instead of eating humans, he brings them dreams, good dreams. No one has ever seen giants until Sophie catches the BFG working one night. Sophie gets taken by the BFG and they become friends. In the end, they come up with a plan to capture the human-eating giants and it all ends well.
The story may be somewhat simple, the discussion and language in the book definitely are not. For example, Sophie argues that the human-eating giants are bad because they eat humans. The BFG then points out that humans eat animals, yet this is not seen as something evil and challenges Sophie’s perspective on humans (it basically comes down to double standards). Human violence is briefly discussed since giants never kill other giants, but humans do kill each other – sometimes for no reason.
Additionally, the language used in The BFG can easily challenge your students. You can ask them to rewrite some of the BFG’s dream labels, translate the BFG’s words or even discuss why some sentences are not in the right order. All these things will improve your students’ reading and linguistic competency.
I could easily write several lesson plans for this book. However, Roald Dahl’s website (roalddahl.com) already provides lesson plans for this (and many of his other) book(s). After reading it, I can totally see why The BFG was Roald Dahl’s favourite book.