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Each Day a Small Victory

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“Each Day A Small Victory”, plots the unyielding quest for survival amongst the wildlife inhabitants of a lay-by on an English country road. Darkly funny and occasionally savage, the book offers a stoat's eye view of everyday carnage in the countryside.

240 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2007

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Chips Hardy

2 books4 followers

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5 stars
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4 stars
24 (32%)
3 stars
23 (30%)
2 stars
8 (10%)
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5 (6%)
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for karen.
3,988 reviews170k followers
June 13, 2018
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this book is advertised as wind in the willows meets pulp fiction. and that isn't bad, for a blurb, but it isn't a perfect description. this is just a more realistic version of wind in the willows.

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there is plenty of anthropomorphization. all the animals know each other - and they all have waspy human names like bill or alan (even the actual wasps) but their casual interactions never prevent one from eating the other. nature is nature, and in the winter, especially, there is no room for social niceties.

see, these animals do not play well with others. and why? because animals don't. animals are food for other animals - animals eat each other while they are still alive and twitching. take that, animal rights activists - that is real animal cruelty; try to convince a stoat to go vegan, jsf!!

the stoat is not this:

the stoat is more like this:

really, man.


the stoat does not apologize - he says straight up "you will not like me when i am hungry." unless you taste bad (looking at you, toad)

i love animal tales that offset how "civilized" the animal kingdom is when compared to the oafish, uncivilized "animalistic" humanity. OHHHHH THE IRONY!!!

this doesn't do that.humans exist in this universe, but animals don't study them, don't pass judgment. humans have certain usefulness, when they drop food, etc, and pose certain dangers - when they catch you all up in their chicken coops,eating their birds, but they are largely ignored.

mona the bumblebee is my favorite character, but for your own good - do not get attached to any characters. but there are a lot of good ones. (eyes welling up)

i love the details in this book: each animal species has their own slangy cusswords: the dogs say "barking" the birds say "flapping"

it is totally rad.

sure, it is violent, and a reader may find all the blood gratuitous, but i suppose a little time spent watching actual animals go about their business will educate ya- where there are animals,there will be blood.foxes eat kittens. kittens eat birds. birds eat mice. and on and on and on.

oh, and badgers are assholes.

they do not wear waistcoats. they do not drive cars. they do not drink tea. accept it.

this book is the bedtime story kidnappers read to their victims. it is not all fluffy sunshine - animals have teeth. and i love it. i love this book. i love the illustrations. here is one. enjoy.


oh, it totally cracks me up and is a great read.

i can't get it into my store, but in the back of the book, it says: to order more copies of each day a small victory, please call the publisher (can of worms press) on +44 (20) 7708 2942 or visit www.CanOfWormsPress.co.uk

you should.

and for nostalgia's sake:


come to my blog!
Profile Image for Greg.
1,117 reviews1,879 followers
April 11, 2011
One thing I learned in this book was if you are one of the carnivorous of the forest you don't mess with badgers. I had no idea that they were the most bad ass member of the 'blood and guts mob'.

Karen wrote a very good review, and if you haven't read it, then you probably should a) because it is a good and b) so that I don't have to repeat anything she said.

I'll do my petty little complaining for a moment and then move on. I don't like the description of the book given on goodreads, it doesn't fit the book. Max, the main character stoat, isn't setting the record straight about not being a psychopath, it's not a confessional set in the animal world. There is no rationalization of the violence he causes, he eats other animals because it's in his nature to do so, and because if he doesn't eat them he will die of hunger. There is a great scene towards the end of the book where Max is talking to a bird (the animals are all very polite with each other (I don't have the book in front of me so I don't have the birds name). In a few chapters the particular bird has almost become a meal for Max but something always came up that caused the bird to fly away before he could pounce and kill. This time the bird and Max are both in a position where food in the area is relatively scarce, the bird's whining about not finding much to eat. Max has some ideas for where he can find something to eat but they aren't all that promising and they are talking about their respective troubles. Near the end of the conversation Max says something like, 'Mr. Bird, I don't eat bread, but I see a small piece of bread just over there, I thought I'd let you know it's there, you know helping you out,' and the bird replies, 'I'm not falling for that one today.' 'Well you can't blame me for trying,' Max says and the bird tells him of course not. There are no hard feelings, Mr. Bird knows that it's just in Max's nature to want to eat him, and that the stoat will eat the bird if he gets the chance but until that chance comes along there is no reason why the two aren't perfectly civilized to one another.

Karen showed how angry stoat's can look, but here is a picture of how cute one can be.

You (well I) want to go all, awwww about him. He is very cute. He also is a very little and efficient killing machine whose whole life revolves around having to eat other animals to stay alive.

That is pretty much what this book is about, the experiences of this one stoat to survive, to have his one small victory each day. The victory isn't pretty, it's avoiding larger stoats, the annoying foxes, the murderous badgers, the preying owls and the asshole sociopath crows while trying to find rabbits, small birds, voles and mice that have let their guard down long enough for him to kill one or two for a meal. Each day he wins he gets to repeat the process again the next.

The book is broken down in chapters that are sort of a day or two snapshots of what his life is like in each of the twelve months of the year, of the different opportunities and dangers that each month brings.

Maybe because I'm stunted in some way I like to read the occasional talking animal novel. If you like them also, and you don't necessarily demand that the animals all be cute/cuddly and generally friends with one another, then well I'd recommend you read this. There are also some great illustrations in the book (my favorite being either a) Max killing all the chickens (probably my favorite scene in the book) or b) foxes eating kittens. My one gripe with the book is the poor treatment of foxes, they are really obnoxious in the novel, they piss on everything they can near, they disrupt the forest with their unbridled lusts and every time they come into a scene they cause everything to be all about them and make Max's life more difficult than it already is. But probably from a little stoats perspective the much larger oaf like foxes are a nuisance.

Anyway, what better way to end a review than with one more cute picture of a stoat.

Profile Image for Jackie G Mills.
Author 6 books19 followers
December 6, 2014
Each Day a Small Victory by Chip Hardy is unlike anything I’ve ever read. It features a murderous Stoat named Max and, as the title suggests, the stories centres on the everyday struggle for survival most animals face. This is not a children’s book.

What I liked about the book -
I like how the book creeped me out. This might sound like a strange statement, but I do enjoy books that evoke strong emotions in me. Max really was a Psychopathic predator, who had no problem ripping innocent little creatures to pieces. Aside from Max, there were a myriad of interesting characters introduced throughout the book – they fall into two categories, either they’re hunting or they’re being hunted. Often times the hunter becomes the hunter with a flick of the page. I really liked the Crows – best bad guys ever! The other thing I really enjoyed was seeing humans and human interaction from the point of view of the animals.

What I didn’t enjoy that much -
The story didn’t move forward enough for me, and because of that I had no real urgency in getting the book finished. It’s a pity because the concept was so incredibly interesting.

Final thoughts -
This was an enjoyable read in a gross kind of way. It brought the harsh reality of animal life home with heart wrenching reality.


Will also be posted to my blog: http://jackiegmills.wordpress.com/
Author 2 books10 followers
August 8, 2015
This novel is essentially plotless - an account of animals' adventures throughout one year. Each chapter is a new month, starting with January and ending with December. Max, a bloodthirsty stoat, is out on a hunt all day every day. His life is a series of victories and downfalls, uncalled-for cruelty and last-minute survival. Animals in this book die or live, depending on the whim of the circumstance, of one instant. Also, Hardy describes the animal world and the changes that undergo each season/month with accuracy and detail. It pleases me when authors do some research.

The book is creepy, not for everyone (because of gore and cruelty, slaughter of animal children, because of how detached predators are) and definitely NOT for the younger audience. It's more ironic than humorous, although it did make me laugh a couple of times.
Profile Image for Ellen   IJzerman (Prowisorio).
434 reviews27 followers
February 24, 2013
Op een parkeerplaats langs de Roaring Road, die dwars door het Oak Wood loopt, woont Max, de hermelijn. Hij is daar niet alleen: een familie mensen is daar zojuist neergestreken om te lunchen. Max en Ted, de vreselijk vies smakende en daarom voor Max oneetbare pad, observeren de gebeurtenissen. Ted vraagt:
"They got anything worth knowing about? Any worms?"
Max gave the picnic a full going over with his nose. "Old meat... Hot leaves in water.... That sweet sticky rotten fruit they're so fond of... Nothing for you."
"Sweet and sticky, eh? It'll get busy, then," Ted sighed heavely. "We'll have that Waldo over again. Stirring things right up."
"Here we go," said Max, eyes narrowing, "the ants are out already."
Two flying advance columns, black and bustling, clambered out of their kerbside bunkers, reformed and struck out purposefully for the eating humans at their table.
"Might be a snack in it for me then," said Ted hopefully. "Few wayward ants wouldn't go amiss."
"If they're making the usual mess, they'll leave enough to bring the mice out," said Max. He spoke almost to himself, hunger rising. "Do with a mouse. Or a couple of voles."
"Try and remember that, will you?" said Ted, pointedly. "Voles, yes. Toads, no."
"Look, I'm a stoat," hissed Max. "When I get hungry, I get nasty. Nothing I can do about it."
"Come on, come on, move it!" A cruel and raucous voice cut in from overhead. "We don't want those little mud-scuttlers all over it before we get there."
Waldo the wasp and his ill-tempered squadron hedge-hopped above Max's ears, speeding like little dirty bullets towards the picnic and leaving a relentless buzzing in their wake.

Terwijl de wespen de aanval inzetten op de lunch van de mensen, komen ook de mussen Stan, Jean en Morris langs om wellicht nog wat kruimels op te pikken. De aanblik van Max is echter genoeg om ze van dat idee af te brengen. Ondertussen worden mensen geprikt, wespen platgetrapt (Jason) en doodgespoten (Stu en Keef) en vallen de mieren aan. Het einde van het liedje is dat de mensen vertrekken zonder iets eetbaars achter te laten, Ted verlekkerd aan Keef begint, maar moet constateren dat die niet te eten is vanwege het gif en Max nog steeds hongerig is, niet meer op (veld)muizen hoeft te rekenen en dus gewoon op jacht moet.

Zomaar een minuut of tien uit het leven van de altijd hongerige Max, lid van de Blood and Gut Crew, wonend ergens op het platteland van Engeland. Each day a small victory vertelt een jaar uit het leven van Max. Het is geen schattig verhaal over een wollig lief hermelijntje, het is een thriller. Bloederiger dan de meest bloederige thriller, met een grote variatie aan moordenaars en de wijze waarop er gemoord wordt. Zo wordt onze moordlustige hoofdpersoon zelf ook aangevallen en bedreigd door o.a. Catherine de uil en Oliver, de jonge torenvalk. Om nog maar te zwijgen van de massale moordpartij onder allerlei verschillende diersoorten door de menselijke fieldeater of de slachtoffers van de coughing boxes op de Roaring Road.

Each day a small victory is een prachtig, zuurzoet verhaal. Wie van Waterschapsheuvel heeft genoten, moet ook genieten van deze engels-cynische thriller vol moordenaars en hun - soms heel schattige - slachtoffers. De prachtige, in dezelfde sfeer als het verhaal gehouden, illustraties van Grillo maken het helemaal af.
Profile Image for Hazel Thomson.
24 reviews
May 11, 2015
I loved this book! A nature walk through the woods will never be the same again. I'll be wondering what all the conversations are going on the the trees and bushes. A great read. The only fault, it finished too suddenly for me, maybe I was just wanting more though.
Profile Image for Bethany.
289 reviews
May 23, 2015
And the birds sang on.
A rather dark but honest book with a creative, unusual style to it. It gives a well-informed view into the world of the countryside animals, however towards the end I did grow tired of the repetitive story. Nonetheless, the illustrations are brilliant, dialogue is amusing and overall it was very much worth reading.
Profile Image for Jojo.
74 reviews
April 4, 2015
Follows a stroat throughout a year. Through each season, finding food and interacting with fellow animal.
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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