The BFG by Roald Dahl

The BFG is one of Roald Dahl’s most well-known books.  The story focuses on Sophie, an orphan who is captured by a giant and carried off to his cave.  Unlike most giants, this giant does not eat humans.  He is called the “Big Friendly Giant,” or the BFG.  Because he is not like other giants, the giants who live nearby have a strong disliking of him.  Still, the BFG behaves like other giants in some ways.  For example, he struggles with grammar.  He often mixes up words and phrases, such as “is I right or left” instead of “am I right or wrong,” or “human beans” instead of “human beings.”  I was amused by the BFG’s manner of speech.  He has many funny sayings in this book.

When Sophie learns that the evil giants are all going to London to eat some more “human beans,” including children, she decides that they must be stopped.  It turns out that the BFG is willing to help Sophie.  Together, they create a plan to make sure that the wicked giants never eat humans again.

I enjoyed many of the characters in this book.  It would be difficult to pinpoint a favorite, but if I had to choose one, I think it would be the BFG himself.  While he is not exactly the most articulate character in the book, he has a good heart and is actually very clever.  One of my favorite things about Roald Dahl’s stories are the unique words he creates.  “Scrumdiddlyumptious,” “swogswalloped,” and “bungswoggling” are just a few examples.  The language of this book is especially amusing when read aloud. 

I am extremely fond of this book.  When I read it the first time, I enjoyed it so much that I read it in one day.  For good reason, this is one of Roald Dahl’s most famous and popular books.  I would definitely recommend it to anyone who enjoys Dahl’s books.

The BFG by Roald Dahl is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

James and the Giant Peach is one of Roald Dahl’s most popular books.  The story is about a boy named James Henry Trotter, who is sent to live with his two horrible aunts after his parents had been killed by a zoo animal.  Life is miserable for James until an old man comes along and gives him a bag full of small crystals.  The man claims that the crystals contain more power and magic “than in all the rest of the world put together.”  Unfortunately, James accidentally drops the crystals on the ground under a peach tree and loses them.  To his surprise, a peach on the tree soon grows to an unnatural size.  The giant peach ends up as big as a house.

One night, James decides to sneak out of the house to inspect the monstrous peach.  Getting closer, he notices a hole on the side of the peach.  He crawls into the hole and through a tunnel until he reaches the pit.  The pit of the giant peach has a door cut into it.  James pushes it open and crawls inside.  To his surprise, seven oversized bugs are living inside the pit.  James is frightened at first, but he quickly grows accustomed to the strange creatures.  One of the giant bugs cuts the stem of the peach.  The peach rolls away with everyone inside.  James and his new friends set off on an exciting journey.

I like the character of James in this book, but to be honest, I like the bugs even more.  I especially like Centipede, Old-Green-Grasshopper, and Earthworm.  I think Earthworm is my favorite character of all.  Even though he often seems gloomy and pessimistic, he is very entertaining as he quarrels with the other bugs.  He usually fights with Centipede.  The interactions between the bugs are very amusing.

I have loved reading Roald Dahl’s books since I was very young.  This is one of the first books by the author that I read, so I still feel nostalgic about it.  I have ready many other Roald Dahl books, but this is still one of my favorites.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone, especially if they have not had a chance to read one of Roald Dahl’s books yet.

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl is available to check out from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

Alternate Ending for “The Landlady”

I recently read a short horror story called “The Landlady,” which was left on a cliffhanger. I decided to write an alternate ending for it! I would highly recommend that you read the original short story before reading the alternate ending. You can find the story at

Alternate Ending for “The Landlady”

Something, just something about this whole affair bothered Billy. He couldn’t quite place his finger on what it was, a stirring of the mind, a brief flash of thought. He attributed it, of course, to the heat of the room and the time of night. “I think I should like to go to bed now,” he said.

“Of course, dear,” cried the old lady, fussing over him, “I should think so!”
Billy sighed, stepping gingerly over the dachshund to make his way to the stairs. He turned back to look at the landlady. She had her back to him, serenely gazing into the dying embers of the fire, petting the dachshund, a cold, stiff travesty of a dog. Yes, something about this whole bloody business just wasn’t quite right. Shaking his head, he stumbled slowly up the stairs and into his room. He sat down heavily on the bed, still thinking. The fourth floor? The men were still here? But how? Eyes drooping, he fell straight to sleep, questions still echoing around his head.

3 a.m. the following morning
Billy started out of sleep, thrashing wildly about his bed like a trout out of water. Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, he looked blearily around the room. A quick check of the nightstand clock confirmed his suspicion that it was indeed very early in the morning. Just a minute! A voice was coming from the landing above his. It was a mere mumbling, but a voice nonetheless. It was a crooning, haunting tone that rose and fell eerily; yes, it was a voice as smooth as silk, yet as sharp as glass. Billy was wide awake now, no chance of ever falling asleep in this cursed house again! Pulling on his robe, he slowly pushed open the door to investigate.

He crept up the stairs, thoroughly examining his surroundings. He was on the third floor now. Looking about, he saw a small sewing machine, overflowing boxes of cloth, and shelves overflowing with a large variety of small bottles. The room itself smelled faintly of hospital disinfectant. Intrigued, Billy slowly stepped closer. A curious smell came from the flask closest to him. Reaching out, he pulled it from its place and gave it a cautious sniff. The flask reeked of bitter almonds and garlic. Covering his nose with his sleeve, Billy replaced the cask on its shelf and continued his trek.

Something wasn’t quite right. Billy was tripping now, stumbling and coughing. His vision doubled and his eyes watered. In front of him he saw the landlady, crooning gently to- to- he collapsed, the cold, dead face of Christopher Mulholland still swimming in his memory, mouth affixed in a plastic smile, ghastly and preserved.

The face of the landlady, cruel and hard, stared down at him. In the light, she looked a hundred years old, like the old Greek demons Billy had learned about in school. His head felt like a lump of stone. The woman leered down at him, spinning a scalpel expertly between her fingers. He rasped out one word. “Why?” The landlady’s lips turned down. She looked put out to see him awake. “Why, darling, I must keep you! You’ll wither away otherwise.” Billy coughed again, then screamed as a sharp pain sliced into his flesh, below his abdomen. As he floated in and out of consciousness, he heard the landlady singing. My Bonnie lies over the ocean, my Bonnie lies over the sea, my Bonnie lies over the ocean. The landlady smiled cruelly as she pulled her final stitch. “Please bring back my Bonnie to me…”

I hope you enjoyed it!

-Vaidehi B.

Authors We Love: Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is the author of many fictional books for children.  Most of his books were illustrated by Quentin Blake.  I have always enjoyed these books as well as the illustrations.  Dahl uses very inventive language, including interesting words such as “gnazzle,” “knid” and “snozzcumber.”  His books are very funny and full of entertaining nonsense.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is about a boy named Charlie who lives in a small home with his poor family.  Willy Wonka, the owner of a famous chocolate factory, announces that five lucky children will be invited to tour his factory.  The children would be selected by finding one of five golden tickets hidden inside the wrappers of chocolate bars.  By sheer luck, Charlie receives one of the five golden tickets.  As the story unfolds, we discover the wild and zany rooms in Willy Wonka’s factory, and finally we learn the real reason why Mr. Wonka invited the children to his factory.

The BFG tells of a little girl named Sophie who lives in an orphanage.  Sophie is captured by a twenty-four-feet-tall giant, who takes her to a cave in a faraway land called “Giant Country.”  There she learns that the giant’s name is the “Big Friendly Giant,” or the “BFG,” for short.  The BFG is actually the runt of nine other giants, who are about fifty feet tall and are very wicked, unlike the BFG.  The other nine giants like to gallop off to different countries to gobble up about two to six people at a time.  Sophie and the BFG come up with a plan to put a stop to the other giants’ evil deeds.

In Matilda, a girl named Matilda learns how to read at a very young age, but her parents mistreat her and hardly even notice her talents.  When she starts school, Matilda encounters the giant, nasty headmistress named Miss Trunchbull.  The headmistress terrorizes the entire school until Matilda discovers special powers within herself.  This is my favorite of Roald Dahl’s books because of the charming characters and wonderful story.

Most of Roald Dahl’s books are about ordinary children who discover extraordinary things.  Dahl usually includes fantastical characters, such as man-sized insects and little people known as “Oompa Loompas.”  It is for good reason that his books are very popular and are considered classics for young readers.  I highly recommend these books to people of all ages.

-Oliver H.

The works of Roald Dahl are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

Book Review: Matilda, by Roald Dahl

matildaIf you were a super genius with super dumb parents, how would you deal with it? The book Matilda by Roald Dahl is all about how five year old Matilda deals with all the adults in her life that underestimate her and her amazing superpowers, and one adult who becomes her helpmeet.

As a general rule I LOVE Roald Dahl. His witty and creative writing always evokes a laugh out loud response. I find myself genuinely adoring the main character, detesting the notorious villain, and overall loving the world that Dahl creates. It’s a place I hate to leave when the book is over and excitedly anticipate when I crack open one of his books for at least the fifteenth time.

There have been movies and even Broadway musicals based on Matilda, the girl genius, but to me the book will always be magical. Just because it is there that I first envisioned the characters, the very world, that I could not visit myself and I’m sorry but movies will never do that for me. So read this book– and if you’ve read this book, read another Dahl book. If you haven’t read anything by Roald Dahl, I want you to head down to Barnes and Nobles and buy as many Roald Dahl books as possible. Now.

-Becka O., 8th grade