phizzwizards, trogglehumpers, and the BFG


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  • MamaWebb

    I just wanted to share a delightful experience with you. For the first time in a while, I read my kids a chapter book that was totally, utterly, deliciously FUN. I’m sure that most of you have read it, too: The BFG by Roald Dahl.

    My third grade teacher, Mrs. Jaegers, read it to our class every day after lunch until it was finished.  Each day, I remember our class clamoring for more. My parents bought me my own copy, and it was a book that I read again and again.  This book became a true treasure, when my oldest, who is now 18 and also named Sophie :), was just a small girl of 4.  It was the very first chapter book that we ever read to her.  Each night, before bed, she sat, in rapt attention in bed, listening, giggling, and sometimes “goggle-eyed.” Then, when my next child, a boy, was about 4 or 5, I read it to him and his 3 year old little sister.  And they, too, loved it. I think all three of my older kids reread it on their own a few times, as well.  A few years ago, I tried to read it to my youngest boys.  But my copy, now so very old, was falling apart.  The binding had dried, cracked, and split.  Chunks and pages were falling out all over.  I was discouraged, and kept meaning to get my hands on another copy.  But it slipped my mind.  I guess I have a head full of “squashed flies!”

    From time to time, the boys would mention that they wanted me to finish The BFG.  When news of the pending movie of The BFG came out, my oldest tagged me in the trailer on facebook (and my daughter’s childhood friend, Kirsten, tagged her in it, too; it was because of us that they read it at their house!)  Sophie was excited to see the trailer.  And on her friend’s comment, Sophie wrote: “They better not mess this up. If they do, they ruin my childhood!”

    So, desperate to see the film myself, I hopped on Amazon, and Prime shipping put a copy in my hot little hands in two days.  No child of mine would see a movie without first reading the book upon which it was based!

    The book came on Sunday. I began to read it to my boys, starting from the beginning again.  They are 9 and 7.5, and they, too, sat rapt.  The neighbor girls, 5 and 7, also wandered over to listen.  We read and read.  40 or so pages that day.  Then, on Monday, another 50 or so.  Then, tonight, we kept going.  We couldn’t stop.  They begged me to continue.  We giggled.  I got a little tear in my eye when The BFG placed Sophie in the window, reminded her of his marvelous ears, and kissed her cheek.  My boys were quiet and not disruptive at all, just begging me to read a bit more.  So, tonight, in just over an hour, I read them the last 108 pages of The BFG.  And they adored it.  My youngest said, that along with The Indians of New Jersey: Dickon Among the Lenape, it was his most favorite book.  And he giggled off down the hall, muttering about “whizzpoppers.”

    Folks, I am realizing something — something luminous and precious.  This type of story is like the “far away music coming from the stars in the sky” of which the BFG speaks. It can shoot down the light years of generations and still carry its tune.  As homeschoolers, we read a lot of books. A LOT.  GREAT books.  But so rarely are they just for hilarity and snuggles and fun.  Oh yes, we read wonderful soul sculpting stories.  But in the hullabaloo of a school year, sports, church and the like, we tend to collapse into bed —  after running at a pace where the time for read aloud fun books seems slim. I must not take this lesson lightly.  We all need  laughter and memories of “frobscottle” and “bellypoppers” inked onto our hearts.  In a hurting, torn, broken world, don’t neglect to give your kids a “phizzwizzard” to hang onto when the storm clouds roll in.

    I hope to take my kids to see this film adaptation in the next few days. Pray with me that they haven’t ruined all of our childhoods?



    What a great post MamaWebb! I was unfortunate enough to not be introduced to the BFG until the 6th grade when my wonderful, British school teacher read it aloud to us, one chapter a day, after lunch. I cannot tell you how delicious it was to here it read with her lovely English accent and I will always remember it fondly.

    I feel the same way about the Willy Wonka books and Matilda. Roald Dahl truly had a wonderful way with words!


    I’m reading this aloud to my kids right now. It’s the first time any of us are reading it and we are all enjoying it very much. I was never introduced to Roald Dahl as a kid, so I’m having just as much fun experiencing his stories with my kids for the first time. I’m sure “whizzpopper” won’t be leaving my children’s vocabulary any time soon! 😉

    Would love to hear what you thought of the movie once you see it. Hoping to take my kids as well, once we finish reading the book.


    We felt the same as we listened and giggles with the audio version of Mr. Popper’s Penguins


    So glad you posted this.  I have never read it!  Can you believe that?!

    The great thing, though, is that my 10YO reluctant reader just picked that as one of his summer reading books.  Glad to hear that it is something he will enjoy.


    Thanks, all!  If you haven’t read this one with your kids just for fun, do try it! It’s really a blast.

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