ISBN: 0224064525
ISBN 13: 9780224064521
By: Roald Dahl Quentin Blake

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About this book

When Sophie is snatched from her bed in the middle of the night by a giant four times as tall as the tallest human, she thinks she is about to be breakfast. But luckily for Sophie, her giant is the only nice and jumbly giant in Giant Country, and the pair are soon thinking of ways to disappear the BFG’s nasty neighbours.

Reader's Thoughts

Paul Eckert

At this point, I think it's impossible for me to dislike anything by Roald Dahl. He writes stories with a fantastical bend that are equally appealing to children and adults. There is something universally fascinating about his stories. Themes we can relate to, characters that are not exactly complex, but who we root for all the same. That being said, I thought "The BFG" was just okay. I really enjoyed it, and it was a fun read. But I think Dahl established several interesting themes early on that never really materialized. For example: the Big Friendly Giant (a name which feels a bit ham-fisted) lives in a land of giants. Most of the giants eat people, but the BFG does not. Instead, when the other giants travel across the world to eat people, the BFG goes around and sends sweet dreams to sleeping children. We never really learn why the BFG is so friendly towards humans. He clearly assumes them to be slightly inferior to giants, which leads one to wonder why he works so hard to give people good dreams.The BFG also has big ears which enable him to hear things across the world. This would seem to be an interesting symbol of sympathy, yet all his big ears are really used for is a convenient device in the climax of the story. The end is satisfactory enough, but doesn't surprise. Unlike a lot of his stories, Dahl seemed to have gone with the easy answer in this one.All in all it was a fun read, and I'd still recommend it for the flashes of brilliance that are there.I listened to the audiobook version of this story, which was performed by Natasha Richardson. My only complaint is that the voice of the BFG was rather annoying and sounded like someone doing a bad impression of a mentally challenged person.

Jim Peterson

If you like to read aloud to your kids, I can't think of a better book, although several other Roald Dahl books may be close. The kids loved it, the parents loved it and it is easy to include fun character voices.

Medeia Sharif

One night Sophie sees a strange sight. A huge man is opening the windows of sleeping children. Uh-oh. Sophie isn’t supposed to be looking at him since people don’t know about giants. The giant snatches her and takes her to his world.Sophie has nothing to fear. The giant who took her is the BFG, Big Friendly Giant. He’s a kind vegetarian who would never eat “chiddlers” or any other type of “human bean.” Sophie doesn’t have to worry about being eaten, although all is not well. The BFG lives among nine other giants in the Land of Nod. They’re mean, angry bullies who gobble numerous people every day. Sophie can’t bear it. Can’t she and the BFG do something about them? The two hatch a plan to stop the carnivorous giants from kidnapping and eating human beans. Roald Dahl takes me back to childhood. The book was magical and I adored the way the BFG spoke. His lingo was hilarious. I learned about snozzcumbers, frobscottle, and whizzpopping. Sure all those things are fictional, but in the few hours I read this I really wanted all those things to exist.


If I was a adult with her mind where it should not be (hmmm..child 'napper much), I would most definitely have something entirely different to say about where Dahl could have gone with this story. But I will settle for protesting against the fact that he didn't begin a series. Darn you! Darn you to heck! I was brought to this story purely by my interest in giants. 'The Selfish Giant.' The greedy giants. The Jolly Green Giant (hey, after all these years he is pretty hot looking). Man-eating giants with three eyes. Man-eating giants with one eye (Cyclops, or for the mystifyingly intelligent, Kuklōps). They utterly delighted me. I had an iron clad stomach when I was a child (don't you just love how horomones change all the nice things about life?) and could sit in the Juvi section with those books awash with the red rampages of the beasts (the psychotic mammals are beasts...not just anything that eats humans). I found it was most likely the patrons that would protest against what book you had in your hands. Meddling kids. [image error][image error][image error]

Eloise baker

This is the story of an orphaned girl called Sophie, who when hearing a noise outside her window creeps to have a peek out and is surprised to see a giant across the street. Realising that sophie has seen him, the giant plucks sophie from her room and takes her to giant country. Sophie fears the giant will eat her but...she is not a snozzcumber so she is quite safe, this giant is strictly a vegetarian!!The big friendly giant is a dream-blower and travels the night blowing dreams through "chidler's" windows, but there are nine other giants in giant country who with names like bonecruncher and childchewer that are not so friendly and as the name suggest love to eat "human beans". Sophie and the BFG are appalled by the other giants appetite for humans and wish to stop them but even being twenty-five feet tall the BFG is still considered the runt to the other giants who are over fifty feet tall!! Sophie has a plan...using the BFG's talent of dream blowing they enlist the help of the Queen of England, they manage to capture the giants and hold them in a enormous hole in the ground where they can no longer eat any more humans, they are to live on a diet of snozzcumbers. In true fairy tale style, sophie and the BFG get to have a happy ending.Roald Dahl has once again produced a children's favourite, his writing has a fast paced rhythm. The incorrect use of grammer and language when the giant is speaking gives the book a real sense of fun and humor. I would recommend this book for yr 6 and older due to the contents of some the book, like having children snatched from their bed to be a giant's dinner.

Jess Michaelangelo

Excuse me while I get up on my soapbox. I love Roald Dahl. I always have, and I always will. Although some may disagree with me, I think the most important thing that a child can be encouraged to do is to dream big. There isn't a children's book that Dahl has written that doesn't kickstart the imagination. Now, I admit, I'm only 19, so I don't pretend to know a lot about child-raising, but I stand by what I said--it's important for kids to imagine and believe in the impossible. I mean, c'mon--as a kid, I grew up believing that I could live in a giant peach with a bunch of bugs as my friends...that I could one day own my own magical candy factory...that I could get back at any "mean" grown-ups by using my mind to mess with their day. Now, I'm still a big kid at heart, but if there's one thing I dearly miss from childhood, it's the ability to believe in just about anything. That being said, I think it's just as important for adults to spark their own imagination from time to time. I'm not much of a grown-up myself, but the needs of my imagination are why you'll find me checking books out from my library's childrens' section. Anyway, I suppose I should get down off my soapbox and actually review this book already! I loved it, naturally. This is one of Roald Dahl's books that I hadn't read as a child. (::gasp:: I know!) I loved how this normal little girl becomes friends with a giant, and even the Queen of England! I laughed out loud when the BFG confused Charles Dickens with Dahl's Chickens. My favorite part of the book, though, was the BFG's jumbled form of language and all of the words and phrases he made up. A book for all ages, I'd recommend it for any child, and for any grown-up with a bit of child left in them.

Erin Reilly-Sanders

I was told that this was the funniest fourth grade book out there and, a little surprisingly, I find it difficult to disagree. The story itself is mostly fun rather than funny, but the Big Friendly Giant's speech patterns are delightfully hilarious. It has good elements of fantastic adventure wrapped up in a big happy ending- almost the perfect kids book combination. I did have a couple little issues with the book- the size difference between Sophie and the BFG seemed inconsistent a the point where she is handing him jars to capture the dreams in and the super noise sensitive ear bit seemed a little off in a couple scenes such as when the BFG was talking very loudly to Sophie, hurting her ears, which should have hurt his own. But I am a super critical adult and no one should let that stop them from enjoying this book. With the fun word play, this is an excellent read aloud or audio book- great for family car trips since the story is interesting and engaging for even grumpy grownups while being appealing to kids.


The BGF Roald Dahl Jennifer PierpointThe BFG, famously written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake is a fictional fantasy story about a young girl who finds friendship in an unexpected place. It is a prime example of the way in which a simple story can engage the imagination of the younger reader. Visual and linguistic stimuli can be used to great effect, in this case to give the characters personalities that children can easily relate to. The use of language also effectively and inventively describes the setting or the story in a fast-moving and fantastical landscape. The feeling of isolation and loneliness experienced by both Sophie and the BFG and this draws them both together. The idea of innocence and compassion portrayed by Sophie and the BFG wining out against ignorance and cruelty (portrayed by the other giants and on occasion some of the human adults) is an important part of the development of a child’s understanding of morality. The BFG’s character develops throughout the story with a different characteristic evinced each time we encounter him. For example, compassion and sympathy on the BFG’s part are shown when Sophie tells him about the orphanage she lives in. Humility is shown when Sophie keeps correcting his grammar. Humour is also provided to give the giant a sense of warmth. All these characteristics have the effect of making the character of the BFG as likeable as possible so that children also befriend him. Roald Dahl effectively turns the idea of a traditional monster on its head. The rest of the giant race reflects the base and animalistic side of human nature. They are presented as antagonistic and totally opposed to the BFG’s altruistic nature. The names of the large giants in the book are aptronym’s. For example names such as ‘Bonecruncher’ and ‘Blood bottler’ allow the child to easily imagine and understand their role within the story and to provide a stark contrast to the character of the BFG. These names add an element of fear and excitement to the child’s experience. The two extremes allow for the idea of ‘good’ and ‘bad’, ‘right’ and wrong’ to become polarised. These themes are often explored in day-to-day lesson planning and behavioural management in a current multi-cultural curriculum. The description of the giants’ appearance deepens the dichotomy between themselves and the BFG. There is powerful use of exaggeration throughout the story. For example when describing the ‘Bloodbottler’, his finger is described as large as a ‘tree trunk’. The use of similes, alliteration and onomatopoeia throughout the novel gives the child a way of understanding the text so they can really immerse themselves in the book. Adults are depicted in the book as typical for their social status. The military general for example is portrayed as a stereotypical, overbearing and a ruthless military commander. The language that the commander uses such as ‘shoot ‘em on the spot, that’s what I say” is an example of this stereotypical portrayal found in the book. The first sentences in each chapter are often simple statements which provide immediate access into the scene/story. For example the first sentence ‘Sophie couldn’t sleep’ not only introduces the character but also provokes a series of questions about the scene presented. This plays to the inquisitive nature of children. Chapters are short which allows the book to be read in manageable portions and the illustrations break up the text on alternate pages. These structures accommodate a child’s attention span.Throughout the book there is continual use of descriptive and original language. ‘Giant land’ is described as a desolate wasteland with large blue rocks and dead trees. The description gives the child a real sense of ‘Giant world’ being a true fantasy world and promotes and encourages the child to use their own imagination. The description and portrayal of a fantasy world is intensified by the presence of characters such as the Queen that create a sense of surrealism and wonder in the human world. She also provides the maternal comfort that Sophie has not fully experienced. Adjectives and adverbs also help the action within the scenes to develop in an exciting and energetic way. When the BFG goes from the human world to the ‘giant world’ attention is paid to the speed in which he runs. His speed is emphasised by the repeated image created of the ground becoming blurred and Sophie’s reaction to it. (Sophie is our eyes and ears-what we expect to experience is shown by her response). A young reader would enjoy this novel as it engages with and stimulates all the senses in an exciting way and endures in a child’s memory as an eccentric, fun and yet morally instructive journey. On my part, it was a delight to return to this well-loved story. .


Re-reading The BFG as an adult, the first thing that struck me is how seriously Sophie, the eight-year-old protagonist, is taken.The BFG always, always treats her as an equal. He expects her to understand the same things he does (which isn't always easy for Sophie since she's only just learned that giants exist!) and takes to heart everything she says, so it's easy for her to hurt his feelings.For most of the story, too, there's not even a question that anything Sophie says might not be believed by anyone just because she's a child. The BFG's reason for kidnapping her is that he completely believes that if Sophie tells anyone she has seen a giant, the world will be thrown into chaos and the BFG will be captured and put into a zoo. Of course, later when Sophie does want to tell someone about the other giants, the BFG realizes that getting anyone to believe Sophie's story will require some strategy. But it's refreshing that The BFG begins by giving so much authority to a child.I really like the BFG as a character. He would make a perfectly amazing grandfather if he were human.What I don't like is how Dahl describes the physical differences between the BFG and the nine horrible giants. The horrible giants, in addition to being much bigger than the BFG (from eating humans instead of vegetables), have "reddish-brown" skin with black hair, "small and flat" noses, and huge mouths with "lips that were like two gigantic purple frankfurters lying one on top of the other." In contrast the BFG's face is long and pale. Quentin Blake gives him a beaky nose and thin lips. So, whereas the BFG is a nice white grandpa (if not exactly genteel), the nine horrible giants evoke a whole bunch of racist stereotypes. Good job, Roald Dahl!Then there's the wordplay, which is mostly very fun (I imagine this book would be lots of fun to read out loud, although I probably wouldn't because see above) but also includes some very annoying puns on the names of countries. Dahl isn't afraid to write the most gruesome stuff about giants eating children, but it's not so gruesome when it happens to children in countries that aren't England, because then we can make jokes! In Panama, people taste like hats! In Bagdad, they barely noticed that a giant bagged a dad and his kids too, because they were too busy beheading people (what??). Ha ha ha!

Lisa is Busy Nerding

in a sentence: sophie, a little girl on the top floor of an icky orphanage, is awake during the witching hour and knows something is up...and then she meets a big, friendly, giant! let the adventure begin!oh man, i absolutely love this book. it just makes me feel like snuggling up under a blanket and cozying with a teddy bear. sophie is scooped up by the BFG (big friendly giant) while he is doing some very suspicious things - blowing some liquid into people ears? after being gently carried to the land of the giants, things really start to get interesting. sophie realizes that not all giants are quite so nice as the BFG, in fact, they are downright awful. sophie is ultimately appalled when she learns that giants eat...CHILDREN!the BFG and Sophie are on a mission to save any other children from getting gobbled by the giants. the BFG and his interactions with the other giants are absolutely heartbreaking - but a glimmer of hope in that he never lets them get him down, despite their nasty ways.this book is bursting with creativity, love, frustration, exploration, mystery, friendship, laughter, and many other heartwarming aspects. you can read it at 5 to 95 and love it just the same, and want to read it over and over again!faves: how the giants talk - Roald Dahl is certainly one creative man. also, the illustrations were perfect for the book - a little odd but still make you smile. finally, the ending was AMAZING (what ultimately happens to Sophie and BFG).fix er up: i want to say i wish it were longer, but really that's only because i loved it SO MUCH i want to read it again and again.


This was one of my absolute favourite books when I was little. It's my second favourite Roald Dahl book, too -- you can probably guess the absolute favourite, if you know me just a little and Roald Dahl's more famous works... Anyway, I'll be reading that soon enough: for now, I'm talking about the BFG. Roald Dahl managed to make things very scary at the same time as everything was really going to be alright: it's alright to be turned into a mouse, and all the witches will be caught in the end; the queen of England will help you catch all the giants and everyone will be happy; you'll fly to America in a giant peach... But you still sort of want to curl up under the covers. Maybe if you put your head under the covers, giants won't be able to reach in and take you.My favourite thing about this book is the BFG himself. The way he talks is terrific (and Roald Dahl gets to appeal to that icky-delightful grossness, with "whizzpoppers").Quentin Blake's illustrations are the only ones that should be paired with Roald Dahl's writing. They're perfect for it. I bought the Kindle edition, since I couldn't find my copy, and was very pleased to discover it does include the illustrations -- it makes the pagination a bit weird at times, but I'm happy to make that sacrifice to get the pictures. They're reasonably well-rendered on the Kindle: sometimes a bit fuzzy, but they were black and white in my edition anyway, so that's no problem. The proofreading of the Kindle edition leaves something to be desired, though.Still, I'm glad to be able to carry it around with me easily. I revisited the BFG many times when I was younger, and I'm sure I will again.

Jon Blake

A 24-foot dirty old man creeps down the streets late at night, when all the grown-ups are asleep, peering in through little children's windows. No, not the subject of a court case, just a momentously popular piece of fiction by the much beloved Roald Dahl.Anyway, returning to our story. . .In one of his hands, the giant holds “what looks like a long thin trumpet”. He peers into the bedroom of two sleeping children, lifts his trumpet-like thing and whoof! - blows something mysterious into their room. Realising, however, that he has been spotted by our young heroine, Sophie, he creeps over to her room and, in a memorable chapter enigmatically entitled The Snatch, kidnaps her. Once in his grasp, Sophie experiences an exhilarating sensation, rather like flying, before finding herself imprisoned in his cave.Some parents may, of course, be concerned about the predicament Sophie finds herself in, but Dahl take great pains to allay these fears. For a start, Sophie has no parents who will notice her disappearance, and has in fact been liberated from a quite frightful orphanage. What is more, her terror is short-lived and she grows to love her imprisoner, enraptured by the bizarre and wildly amusing anecdotes, to which she is such a patient listener, just as well as these take up approximately three-quarters of this classic modern fairytale. A further criticism of Dahl is that he is actually not that original, nor particularly witty, nor in fact funny in the slightest. The BFG certainly puts those claims to rest! I like to imagine Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker turning green with envy as the BFG embarks on a series of scintillating witticisms concerning the taste of “human beans” (“Beans”, note, not “beings”!) from different countries: the Turks, for example, “is tasting of turkey”, the Greeks is “tasting greasy”, while those from Wales “taste fishy” - like those greatest of all fish, the whales! As usual, the politically correct brigade will no doubt be sharpening their blue pencils at these supposed 'racist' stereotypes. I shall deal with these accusations later. For now, let us simply revel in the BFG's unique way with words: his spoonerisms, his neologisms, his malapropisms, his wonderjumbly mouthgurgles of stunning originality, given that Roald, as we know, spent all his waking hours in his famous hut and would never have seen Professor Stanley Unwin on the telly.Dahl is, above all, a master of simile – he memorably describes the BFG in Chapter 3 as having “an arm as thick as a tree-trunk”; so memorably, indeed, that it instantly sprang back to my mind while reading Chapter 9's description of the Bloodbottler, with his “finger as large as a tree trunk” - a cunning way of establishing the difference in size between the two giants!This brings me to the one matter which does bother me about the BFG. Having firmly established that this novel has no improper overtones, the exact mechanics of the kiss scene between the BFG and Sophie are still problematic. By my calculations, the BFG's mouth would have to be at least ten inches wide, possibly larger (according to Quentin Blake's illustrations, which Dahl of course approved, I'd reckon up to two feet). With a mouth considerably larger than Sophie's entire face, what exactly would this kiss have entailed? At the very least, one would have thought, it would have posed the threat of suffocation. Still, given the equally enormous dimensions of the BFG's tongue, we can certainly rule out any improprieties in this regard!But we are leaping ahead. No account of this wonderful tale would be complete without a mention of the BFG's diet: the enormous and repugnant Snozzcumber. Those who wish to see indecentsuggestion in everything will no doubt make much of this long phallic vegetable, foul-tasting and “covered all over with coarse knobbles”. I can only feel sorry for these people, being unable to enjoy at face-value the hilarious scene as the BFG urgently entreats little Sophie to taste his snozzcumber, whereupon, having taken a reluctant nibble, she promptly spits it out, declaring that it tastes of “frogskins. . .and rotten fish”. Sudden ejaculation is very much a part of the following chapter also, as the vile Bloodbottler is tricked into having his own chomp on the BFG's snozzcumber. For those who haven't yet had the pleasure of reading the book, I won't reveal exactly what happens next – other than that poor Sophie ends up “covered in snozzcumber and giant spit”. It's fortunate that this gruesome experience is soon followed by the delights of frobscottle and watching the dirty old giant blow off in front of her!But the BFG is, of course, primarily a novel about dreams – the dreams the friendly giant catches, stores in jars, and blows into children's heads. After suffering the beastly attentions of the other giants, the BFG exacts a splendid revenge by bestowing a Trogglehumper on the Fleshlumpeater. However, the great coup de grace is saved for the climactic scenes of the novel, when the BFG enacts every little boy's fantasy by getting out his trumpet-like thing in the Queen's own bedroom and blowing a dream into the head of the Mother of the Nation. The very idea of going to the Queen to solve one's deepest problem is yet another example of the stunning originality of this remarkable book. One hopes it will not lead to thousands of people writing letters to Her Majesty, imploring her to help with every vexation from troublesome neighbours to unfair treatment at the hands of the inland revenue! And what an affectionate and affecting portrait of our monarch Dahl has given us. I like to think of the great writer up in his private writing shed with a well-thumbed copy of Majesty and a box of tissues at the ready, as his old eye weeps at the thought of the grace and beauty of our sovereign. I imagine Swift turning green with envy as his cheap malevolent shots at royalty in Gulliver's Travels are superceded by Dahl's own take on the giant in the palace, with its wonderful evocation of the dignity and warmth of Elizabeth II, summed up so eloquently by the secret smile that flickers on her lips as the BFG lets fly at the breakfast table. Much, however, has been made of the fact that Dahl portrays England and Sweden, quite accurately, as having constitutional monarchs, while Baghdad (i.e. Iraq), rather less accurately, has a “sultan” of a regime where “we are chopping off people's heads like you are chopping parsley”. For heaven's sake, I want to cry – exotic dark-skinned individuals have been a staple of children's fiction for centuries! Speaking of which, do we really have to defend the fact that the malevolent giants are also dark-skinned, have thick lips and wear nothing but loincloths? Dahl is simply creating suitable bogeymen to posit a fearful threat to the angelic English children, with their “inky-booky” flavour and Eton and Roedean educations. Only the most relentless PC obsessive could draw a parallel between this threat and the fear of being “swamped by an alien culture”, as Margaret Thatcher memorably described the fear of coloured immigration shortly before the Tory 1979 election campaign in which Dahl ardently assisted, shortly before writing The BFG. Next the critics will be drawing a parallel between Mrs Thatcher's enthusiastic use of military force in the 1982 Falklands War and Dahl's employment of the British military establishment to subdue the giants! This, however, would completely ignore the friendly giant's homilies against the human race's internecine conflicts - “shootling guns and going up in aeroplanes to drop their bombs on each other every week”. Or maybe the critics think Dahl is merely a hypocrite given to sentimental moral platitudes while actively promoting a love of conflict, simplistic demonisation of the enemy and desire for violent revenge. Several million nine year olds will beg to differ!Those given to pusillanimous nit-picking will no doubt take issue with Dahl's assertion that “human beans” are the only creatures that kill their own kind. Not strictly true, I'll warrant, or even true in the slightest, but we must remember that Dahl was already old when writing The BFG, had received a severe knock on the head when crash-landing in Libya, and, like his simple, uneducated hero was an endearingly dotty individual. If we really must pick holes in The BFG, we could also point out the BFG's homily against the eating of the poor “piggy-wiggies” followed by his enormous plate of sausages and bacon at the palace, or the fact that no-one allegedly noticed that the giants ate children in the early chapters, but were quite aware in the later ones, especially with the bones being left underneath the dormitory windows. Everybody in the publishing world knows, however, that it is the editors' job to spot these inconsistencies, so perhaps the critics will direct their fire to these wretched individuals – particularly the ones at Puffin who also rejected the first volume of my splendid House of Fun series.I hope in this brief essay to have dealt effectively with the many absurd allegations that have been made against one of Dahl's finest works; in particular that the novel contains unseemly amatory undertones. One really should not judge this great children's writer on the basis of what we know of his adult fiction, which is only, I believe, obsessed with sex and violence because Dahl naturally wrote what he believed would please his audience – just as Dahl simply had to mention the lovely calves of the footmen in The BFG to bring a wry smile to Her Majesty! Living in Dahl's place of birth, Cardiff, I often cycle down to Roald Dahl Plass, the former Oval Basin of the docks, now a magnificent public space flanked by the Millenium Centre. Imagine my surprise one day, approaching this place of homage, to find myself confronted by a vast billboard adorned by none other than the real-life Sophie, now fully-grown in every sense, giant-sized and entirely naked, advertising a perfume bearing the name of a well-known Class A drug. Aha! I thought – so dreams are still bottled and dispensed by big friendly giants. What a marvellously appropriate legacy for the master of modern fantasy!


I've been on a Roald Dahl kick lately and have been rereading some of his books that I've loved since childhood. The BFG is a fun story about a big friendly giant who gallops around England at night blowing happy dreams into the bedrooms of sleeping children. One evening, he befriends a girl named Sophie, and together they plot to get rid of some evil giants.The book is delightful because of Dahl's humorous made-up words and the quirkiness of the BFG, but it's made complete by the marvelous illustrations of Quentin Blake, who frequently collaborated with Dahl. This was one of my favorite Dahl books as a kid, and it was just as enjoyable reading it 30 years later.


I kept hearing my daughter bursting out laughing as we lay next to each other reading at bedtime, so after she was done with this book I grabbed it to read. It was hilarious. I read Roald Dahl books as a kid and had forgotten how whimsical and unique his books are. You can read it in a night or 2 if you need a break from your regular reading!


I'm a big Roald Dahl fan, but somehow I missed reading this one until now. I think The BFG is a very fun book for children. I especially like how the giants talk, especially the Big Friendly Giant. Parents should enjoy it, too, because as an adult, I still found it to be an engaging read.

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