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Danny the Champion of the World

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Danny’s life seems perfect: his home is a gypsy caravan, he’s the youngest car mechanic around, and his best friend is his dad, who never runs out of wonderful stories to tell. And when Danny discovers his father’s secret, he’s off on the adventure of a lifetime. Here’s Roald Dahl’s famous story about a 9-year-old boy, his dad, and a daring and hilarious pheasant-snatching expedition. Just as important, it’s the story of the love between a boy and his father who, in Danny’s own words, is “the most marvelous and exciting father a boy ever had.”

205 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 1975

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About the author

Roald Dahl

1,324 books23.9k followers
Roald Dahl was a British novelist, short story writer and screenwriter of Norwegian descent, who rose to prominence in the 1940's with works for both children and adults, and became one of the world's bestselling authors.

Dahl's first published work, inspired by a meeting with C. S. Forester, was Shot Down Over Libya. Today the story is published as A Piece of Cake. The story, about his wartime adventures, was bought by the Saturday Evening Post for $900, and propelled him into a career as a writer. Its title was inspired by a highly inaccurate and sensationalized article about the crash that blinded him, which claimed he had been shot down instead of simply having to land because of low fuel.

His first children's book was The Gremlins, about mischievous little creatures that were part of RAF folklore. The book was commissioned by Walt Disney for a film that was never made, and published in 1943. Dahl went on to create some of the best-loved children's stories of the 20th century, such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach.

He also had a successful parallel career as the writer of macabre adult short stories, usually with a dark sense of humour and a surprise ending. Many were originally written for American magazines such as Ladies Home Journal, Harper's, Playboy and The New Yorker, then subsequently collected by Dahl into anthologies, gaining world-wide acclaim. Dahl wrote more than 60 short stories and they have appeared in numerous collections, some only being published in book form after his death. His stories also brought him three Edgar Awards: in 1954, for the collection Someone Like You; in 1959, for the story "The Landlady"; and in 1980, for the episode of Tales of the Unexpected based on "Skin".

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,176 reviews
Profile Image for Jeff.
52 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2007
Oddly to some, this still stands as my favorite Roald Dahl book. It's hard for me to pinpoint why, since it's my opinion and I hate examining my opinions too closely, but to take a swing at it:
It's one of the least zany of Dahl's books, which ultimately gives it staying power. With many of his other works, you get caught up in the wacky characters, situations, and goings ons and it's hard to take them as seriously once you get a little bit older and gain a little bit of sophistication. However, DTCOTW (wow, won't be writing that again) contains some of Dahl's best pure writing as the author beautifully and at times almost lyrically describes the relationship between Danny and his father.
I think this book very often gets overlooked and I think that's a shame, because it's so very good.
Profile Image for Miranda Reads.
1,589 reviews157k followers
June 18, 2021
How well do you know your parents?

Nine-year-old Danny always lived with just his dad in their cozy gypsy caravan.

He thought he knew everything about his father, until one day he wakes up in the middle of the night to find out that his father missing.

His father - his honorable, wonderful and loving father - has a very, very huge secret.

One that will throw their lives into complete chaos.
I will not pretend I wasn't petrified. I was. But mixed in with the awful fear was a glorious feeling of excitement. Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn't be exciting if they didn't.
I loved the father-son relationship. The first third of the book simply describes all the things Danny does with his dad - from homemade kites to taking apart an engine.

Dahl's signature writing style made ordinary happenings into riveting adventures.

I really enjoyed how this Dahl story was so grounded in reality. There wasn't any BFGs or Chocolate Factories (though they were mentioned) to distract us from the characters.

Plus, in just every sentence you can just tell how much Danny and his dad care about each other.
I was glad my father was an eye-smiler. It meant he never gave me a fake smile because it's impossible to make your eyes twinkle if you aren't feeling twinkly yourself.

The Finer Books Club - 2018 Reading Challenge: A book that doesn't fit any of the above prompts

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Profile Image for Luca Ambrosino.
83 reviews13.7k followers
January 15, 2020
ENGLISH (Danny the Champion of the World) / ITALIANO

«When I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself. This is how I looked at the time. I had no brothers or sisters. So all through my boyhood, fromthe age of four months onward, there were just the two of us, my father and me»
Danny, nine years old, and his father live together in an old carriage, carefree. The story takes a turn for the unexpected when Danny finds out that his father, in addition to being an expert mechanic, is also a poacher.

Among all the Roald Dahl's novels, probably this is the one I liked less. Not my daughter, however. She always likes each Dahl's novel.

Vote: 7


«Quando avevo quattro mesi, mia madre morì all'improvviso, e mio padre dovette occuparsi di me tutto da solo. Ecco com'ero a quell'epoca. Non ho né fratelli né sorelle. Così per tutta la mia infanzia, dall'età di quattro mesi in poi, fummo solo noi due, mio padre e io» Danny, 9 anni, e suo padre vivono in una vecchia carrozza all'insegna della spensieratezza. La storia prende una piega inaspettata quando Danny scopre che suo padre, oltre ad essere un esperto meccanico, è anche un cacciatore di frodo.

Di tutte le opere di Roald Dahl che ho letto a mia figlia, forse questa è quella che mi è piaciuta di meno. Non a mia figlia però. A lei ogni libro di Dahl piace sempre.

Voto: 7

Profile Image for Matt.
3,812 reviews12.8k followers
June 18, 2019
A re-read with Neo over the last while. I wanted to share my original review, altered with some of Neo’s sentiments in the latter part.

Dahl continues with his wonderful children's stories, telling one that has a realistic flavour to it, sure to appeal to the masses. After the death of his mother as an infant, Danny is left to live with his father. Together, they forge a bond so close that no one can come between them. Living in a small caravan out back of the service station he owns, William (Willum, at times) raises Danny the best he can. One night, Danny wakes to find his father is not in the upper bunk bed and panics, but soon locates him strolling up the pathway. After intense questioning, Danny learns that his father has been out poaching pheasants, something that many of the poorer men have been known to do on the large estate of a pompous owner. Danny is enamoured at the possibility that they can do this together, but is cautioned against it, as it is a highly dangerous and illegal affair. When Danny cannot find his father a second time, he goes out looking, only to discover that things are tied up in proverbial knots. Sharing an idea for the pheasant catching, Danny finds a way to get in on the act. What follows is a treacherous scheme that could fail at any moment, or reap rewards for many. Perhaps my favourite story to date in this re-reading adventure, Dahl dazzles and impresses at the same time.

I vaguely remember my father reading me this story when I was young, which helped fuel my desire to try it again for myself. It is also my attempt to get Neo fascinated in the art of Dahl’s writing. The ease with which the story flows is surely one of its greatest assets, alongside some great characters and a plot that is as believable as it is relatable to at least some children. Neo believed it and said that he could almost see Danny and his dad trekking out of the dead of night. Able to convey a wonderful story in short order, Dahl continues to show how he earned the title of masterful children's author of the 20th century. With a peppering mention of some other stories in his quiver (BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), Dahl bridges a connection for his young readers, with just a touch of self-promotion. Neo found the connection to other stories funny and shocking as well. Short chapters foster a great adult-child joint experience and one can only hope that readers for decades to come will continue to be dazzled by the work Dahl made popular in my own youth.

Kudos, Mr. Dahl for continuing to impress with your fluid prose. I love that warm feeling your books always impart.

Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:
Profile Image for Diane.
1,081 reviews2,717 followers
January 29, 2019
I think this is my favorite Roald Dahl book. I've reread it at least a dozen times since I was a child, and it's just marvelous. I love the bond the father has with his son, I love the drawings, I love the coziness of the caravan, and I love the great poaching adventure that the father and son embark on. Three cheers for Danny!
Profile Image for B Schrodinger.
305 reviews672 followers
December 4, 2015
"Danny the Champion of the World", like most of Roald's work, can be seen in two different ways. Danny, 10 years old, lives with his father in gypsy caravan behind a filling station in rural England. His father is a mechanic and teaches Danny very early how to rebuild engines and be a brilliant mechanic. But his father has another hobby that was secret to Danny. When Danny finds out about it, his father brings him along. Family bonding, much happiness. Very sweet book.

Or it could be the tale of a petty thief who recruits his 10 year old son into the fold and introduces him into a conspiracy of thieves that includes the local doctor and even the constabulary.

But in the end it comes down to the lesson of 'you can do anything you like to people who are assholes', which is pretty much a common theme in all Dahl's books.

Reading it as an adult is no less magical as reading it as a ten years old. This time I found myself in his father's shoes as opposed to Danny's. And while I may not have made the same decisions about my son as William, I can see why he did it and I can feel his immense love for Danny.

I's funny how the same images in your mind crop up over 20 years from reading a book. But the descriptions painted the same pictures as they did all those years ago. One thing that I did notice though, is that this time the illustrations were by Quintin Blake, who we all adore. But the copy that I read and reread from my local library had a different illustrator. I'll try and find a copy of this on eBay as it probably matches the images in my mind much more.

So, recommended highly. Read it as a parent and a grown up. And remember to be SPARKY!

Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,029 reviews933 followers
March 30, 2017
I am currently trying to read all of Roald Dahl's books this year.

I want to start off letting you know where I stand. This book did not impress me. After reading sooo many of Roald Dahl's books this year, this book was a let down. There wasn't a lot to the plot and it became very boring at moments. If this book wasn't so short it probably would have been a DNF for me. This book also wasn't creative. The main character was very similar to the main character in George's Marvelous Medicine, they mentioned creatures that other books have in them, birds (like in The Minpins) and again this book talked about chocolate and candy. I might have to take a break from his books soon, because he keeps an extremely similar pattern and creativity with all his books.

About the book:
Danny's mother passes away, so it is only him and his father. Danny wakes up in the middle of the night to find his father is not a sleep. He finds out that his father has been poaching pheasants. This is a dangerous and very illegal activity but Danny decides he wants to do it with his father. Danny comes up with a new method for poaching. A sleeping medicine that has all the pheasants fall asleep. However, sleeping medicine can only last so long and eventually it wore off….
Profile Image for Leo ..
Author 2 books382 followers
April 13, 2018
Simply brilliant. Read this at school back in the 1980's. What a wonderful mind Ronald Dahl had. I remember how I envied Danny when he got to drive the vehicle. This was adapted into a film with Jeremy Irons I think. Film was good too🐯👍.
February 23, 2020
Goodbye Roald Dhal. I thought I liked you, but apparently I only liked Quentin Blake.

I received a whole box of Roald Dhal's books earlier this year. I got them because my family knows how much I loved Roald Dhal growing up, and now I have a YouTube channel and I though "hey, it would be cool to re-read all his books to talk about them on my channel". MWHAHAHAHAHAH!!!

No. I hated almost every single one of them and this book is quite possibly one of the worst books I ever read.

Danny is a young boy and he goes around doing funny activities with his father and the whole book is about these funny activities. Sounds pretty cute and wholesome, right? A part from the fact that this funny activity is - yes you are reading this well - poaching. This whole book is the story of a father teaching his child how to steal freaking birds and bond over it.

The more I read or re-read these books, the more I think that the people who say they love Roald Dhal they only say it because of how much they loved him as children. I'm sorry to hate on everybody's childhood favourite, but I mean you can't really get mad at me because he was mine too. I am more sad than angry at these books, to be honest. At least some of them are funny, this is just weird. But not even good weird. Like dull weird. So yeah ok NEEXT
Profile Image for Ahmad Sharabiani.
9,564 reviews41 followers
March 25, 2018
Danny: The Champion of the World, Roald Dahl
Danny, the Champion of the World is a 1975 children's book by Roald Dahl. The plot centres on Danny, a young English boy, and his father, William, who live in a Gypsy caravan fixing cars for a living and partake in poaching pheasants. It was first published in 1975 in the United States by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and in the United Kingdom by Jonathan Cape.
تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دوازدهم ماه جولای سال 2001 میلادی
عنوان: دنی قهرمان جهان؛ نویسنده: رولد دال؛ مترجم: مهدی وثوق؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نشر مرکز، کتاب مریم، 1380، در هشت و 198 ص، مصور، موضوع: خاطران دنی از پدرش
نقل از پشت جلد کتاب: دنی چهار ماه بیشتر نداشت که مادرش را از دست داد و پدرش به تنهایی او را بزرگ کرد. دنی از آن دوران خاطره های شیرین بسیار دارد که در این کتاب آنها را تعریف میکند. جالبترین آنها ماجرای سرگرمی عجیب و مخفیانه ای است که پدر دنی به آن عادت دارد و وقتی دنی از آن باخبر میشود او را هم در آن شرکت میدهد. این سرگرمی عجیب و پرهیجان ماجرای جالب و شیرینی میآفریند و خیلیها را به دردسر میاندازد... پایان نقل از پشت جلد کتاب. ا. شربیانی
Profile Image for emma.
1,865 reviews54.3k followers
April 21, 2022
when i was a kid, nothing sounded awesomer than being a kid recognized as the champion of the world who teamed up with his cool dad to take down capitalistic symbols via vaguely immoral but extremely badass heist-type plans.

and to be honest, it still sounds awesome.

part of a series i'm doing in which i review books i read a long time ago
Profile Image for Dash fan .
1,467 reviews718 followers
March 15, 2018
A heartfelt read.
A Beautiful father and Son bond.
Another one of my favourite Dahl books
Everyone so memorable. Brings back happy childhood memories.
Profile Image for Reading_ Tamishly.
4,452 reviews2,395 followers
December 8, 2021
Glad that poaching is illegal now.

Glad that fathers do not have to teach kids to hunt.

A feel-good story. Love the illustrations. It gives the classic touch.

I am not a big fan of the plot or the story. What stood out for me was the bond between the father and the young son.

The great community vibes is a big win as well.

A few obnoxious characters but it did well for a fun read.

Planning to read all the author's work 💖
Profile Image for Shannon .
1,221 reviews2,214 followers
October 11, 2010
I got this book in 1988, when I was eight or nine years old, and it was a dear favourite of mine. The story of Danny and his fantastic dad, and their life in the old gypsy caravan by the petrol pumps and garage - it was at once a whole new other world, and something very near and dear to me.

Danny is raised by his dad, a mechanic and Danny's hero. They live in a colourful wooden caravan under a large apple tree, serving petrol and fixing cars. Danny's father teaches him all about cars and how to fix them, and Danny is a great help in the garage. At night his dad tells him fabulous stories, and when Danny starts school at seven, his dad walks him there and back every day. Danny has the best life, and he loves his dad more than anything.

Then one night Danny wakes up to find his dad missing. Anxious, because it is the first time his father has disappeared like this, Danny waits up for him. When his father returns, Danny learns that his dad has a secret: he's a pheasant poacher! His own dad was one before him and came up with several ingenius ways of poaching the birds, and Danny's own mother used to join him on poaching nights. This night marked the first night Danny's father had been out in the private woods - owned by the brutish Mr Victor Hazell - since Danny was born.

And so, Danny's father introduces Danny into the world of pheasant poaching - and Danny discovers that virtually the entire town enjoys a spot of pheasant poaching! Even the doctor and the policeman and the minister's wife is involved - and no one likes Mr Hazell, with his "tiny piggy eyes" and "smug superior little smile". But it is Danny himself who comes up with the most clever poaching plan ever conceived - a way to steal all one hundred and twenty birds at once, the night before Mr Hazell's shooting party arrives!

Perhaps because of the different illustrator, or perhaps because it is more of a realistic and human story than many of Dahl's other, Danny the Champion of the World has a different tone and feel to it than classics like The Witches and The BFG. It is more like his memoir of his childhood, Boy, and similar works. It is written for children, and has humour and a lightness of spirit to it, but it is also more serious. In keeping the story "real", though, Dahl shows just how fantastic our real lives can be, without giants and witches and other fantastical things.

It is also a story of one boy's childhood in what I figure was the early 50s, and as such it reads like a story of a completely by-gone era. The chances of someone now having a childhood like Danny's is pretty slim, and so there's something nostalgic about his story - perhaps, again, inspired by Dahl's own childhood, not in the details of the story but in the characters, and the mischief. It's also nostalgic in that small English village way, where everyone knows everyone's secrets, finds clever ways of pulling the wool over the eyes of people they don't like, and can generally be counted upon in a pinch.

In the schemes for poaching pheasants, there is definitely a touch of the wildly flamboyant Dahl we all know and love: "The Horse-hair Stopper" and "The Sticky Hat"; and in the description of oafish and cruel Victor Hazell. Danny's father, who's never named, is a fantastic figure, and when Danny calls him the best father in the world, you find yourself easily agreeing with him. Well, he may be at times irresponsible and a little wild, but he has the qualities you want in a great father - and this is Dahl's message, proudly spelled out at the back of the book:

to Children Who Have Read This Book

When you grow up
and have children of your own
do please remember something important

a stodgy parent is no fun at all

What a child wants
and deserves
is a parent who is


It's great, even as an adult, to come to that at the end of the book (something I had completely forgotten was there) and be reminded of what I loved and admired in adults when I was a kid. I loved the artist friend of my parents who, when he and his wife came over for dinner, would take the time to entertain us with magic tricks and make us laugh. Or my nanna when she would put me on her lap and read fairy tales to me. Or my dad (and grandad) when he'd lie on his back in the passage, put me on his feet, and toss me over his head, always catching me and setting me on my feet. Learning about plants with my mum. These are the memories we keep, after all - the ones that chase the darker shadows away. It seems like the current trend in parenting is to fill your kids' days with activities, sport, hobbies, studies, rather than spend time having fun with them. Or even to buy horrid plastic toy sets and computer games for toddlers and older - it's so much better to let kids invent their own games, make their own toys and things out of random household odds and ends and scraps, and play amongst themselves.

Danny's inventiveness in the poaching scheme earns well-deserved praise from his dad and others, and his father calls him the champion of the world - far from being a form of gross steroid to a child's self-esteem, it humbles Danny but leaves him re-affirmed in the greatness of his one remaining parent. The two are a close family unit who share everything with each other, and so it doesn't matter that they're poor, that they live in a little caravan with just a little paraffin stove to heat up food on: they have each other, and love, and great stories and fantastic adventures. Having money isn't the key to happiness, is I think Dahl's other message here.

On a side note, it was interesting reading this after so many years, because I had a vivid memory of one of Bennett's illustrations at the very end of the book, which doesn't exist! I remembered it ending - with accompanying illustration - with all the pheasants roosting in the apple tree above the caravan. I must have invented this ending for myself, as a child, and improved upon it each time I read it until it supplanted the real ending in my head. I've done this with other things from my childhood, so it wouldn't surprise me in the least. It is the ending I would have liked, but not a realistic one!
Profile Image for A. Dawes.
186 reviews56 followers
March 4, 2017
Before the dystopian hit The Road, there was another father-son relationship hit, but for another audience altogether.

This funny, witty and charming children's novel is a pleasure to read.

Danny the Champion of the World is a win for the working class. Danny loves life and sees the riches in it rather than his poverty stricken surroundings. The objective reality is that they live in a caravan and just scrape by with the barest essentials, yet through the eyes of Danny, life is splendid: he's a mechanic at only nine years of age and he has a fabulous story-teller of a father.

Danny unravels his father’s secret. And together they set out on a wonderful escapade of pheasant snatching. It's a story of courage, wisdom and the deep connection that can exist between a parent and a child.

A wonderful children's novel. Up there with the very best - but aren't most of Dahl's stories?
Profile Image for Kon R..
241 reviews106 followers
December 1, 2022
There is a certain unmatched charm to any of Roald Dahl's books, even the bad ones. Luckily, this is one of the better stories. It perfectly captures the wonder and excitement that is childhood. If you had an amazing dad, this will make you remember him fondly and if you didn't, you will find yourself wishing things were different. This is clearly a love letter in novel form to Dahl's dad and all dads that ever existed. I found the concept that everyone in town had a naughty side adorable. I'd definitely read this one to my kids.
Profile Image for Himanshu Karmacharya.
942 reviews106 followers
June 15, 2023
The thing about Roald Dahl's books is that they can be enjoyed by both children and adults, and Danny the Champion of the World is no exception.

Easy to read, heartwarming, ridiculously humorous and showcasing a beautiful relation between father and son, this book is a delightful read.

Also, kudos to Quentin Blake, whose illustrations make all of Roald Dahl's books complete.
Profile Image for Stacey.
547 reviews1,550 followers
January 9, 2016
This post is part of the 2015 Classics Challenge.

"A stodgy parent is no fun at all. What a child wants and deserves is a parent who is SPARKY".

Danny thinks his dad is the most marvellous and exciting father a boy could wish for. Life is happy and peaceful in their gipsy caravan, until one day Danny discovers his dad has been breaking the law. What's more, soon Danny has to join his father as they attempt to pull off a daring and devilish plot against their horrible, greedy neighbour, Mr Victor Hazell.

WHEN I Discovered This Classic
It came in my lovely Roald Dahl box set, full of 15 wonderful Dahl novels. I didn't know anything about it at all, except that it was my friend Caitlin's favourite Dahl story.

WHY I Chose to Read It
I've enjoyed reading Roald Dahl novels over the past couple of years. I haven't read one this year, so I thought it was about time. I chose Danny the Champion of the World because it's one that a lot of people seem to adore and yet is completely new to me, compared to some of the previous stories I've read, like The Witches and Matilda . I also haven't read any classics with illustrations this year, so I was looking forward to spending time with Quentin Blake's brilliant pictures.

WHAT Makes It A Classic
Roald Dahl's stories are like being inside a child's brain. They're full of humour and adventure. They're full of incompetent adults and loving adults. They're full of wonderful things to remember, like the quote at the top of this review. As I discovered when I first read Matilda, Roald Dahl's stories can also be enjoyed immensely by adults.

"Most of the really exciting things we do in our lives scare us to death. They wouldn't be exciting if they didn't".

WHAT I Thought of This Classic
It's different to Roald Dahl's other stories in that it feels more contemporary compared to the fun and whimsical stories I've come across so far. I adored that Danny's father would tell him stories, referencing Roald Dahl's other work, like The BFG and Witches. As I've read both of these, I enjoyed it very much. I remember there being a lot of chat about fictional fathers this year on Father's Day, and Danny's popped up as being one of the best dads in fiction. I can see why – he's a brilliant father. He's protective and yet will send Danny on exciting adventures. He tells wonderful stories and is incredibly intelligent. Danny's a happy child. His life isn't full of expensive things or luxury, but it's full of interesting and fulfilling experiences, and a lot of love, all down to his dad. Although Danny the Champion of the World isn't one of my Dahl favourites, it was a joy to read. I was ready for awful Mr Hazell to get his comeuppance!

WILL It Stay A Classic
I think it'll be a terrible year, the year that Roald Dahl's novels stop being read. I cannot imagine that this will ever happen.

WHO I’d Recommend It To
People who love children's stories, funny stories and heartwarming stories. People who haven't yet read a Roald Dahl novel and are a little wary about delving into the more eccentric stories. People who are young at heart.

I also reviewed this book over on Pretty Books.
Profile Image for Philip.
984 reviews264 followers
September 30, 2015
For the record, this was not my favorite Roald Dahl book. Something about the poaching seemed a little less "Robin Hood" and a little more... Uh... "sour grapes" than what I was hoping for. But whatever. It was still good.

And, it was one of the very, very few Roald Dahl books I'd never read. Either way, lets see what the kids said about it. (If it gets 4 or 5 stars, you know why...)

Dad: Alright! How many stars do you want to give it?

Eleanor: FIVE!

Gwennie: FIIIiiiiiVVEE?

E: Gwennie, you don't sound so sure.

G: Five? Maybe five?

(These reviews are getting harder to do, now that Gwennie can read. She's reading everything I type.)

D: We are giving it 5 stars, right?

G&E: Right.

D: What did you think about the book?

E: Wait. Who are you starting with? Can we go in birthday order? So, Gwen goes first, because it's her birthday next.

G: Birthday? Wait. Why did you write birthday?

E: Because of birthday order. November is after October. And November is your birthday month, so you get to go next. *Lists off months with a whistling/wind noise between each one.*

D: So Gwen goes first.

E: Because it's her birthday next.

Poppy: (From outside the room): And then I go second, and then Eleanor goes last. *Poppy has not read the book with us. Also, her birthday is after Eleanor's. Here's hoping there's not a fight brewing over this... Back to Gwen*

G: Good. I liked it.

D: What did you like about the book?

G: The cane? The cane part?

E: The cane part? What does that have to do with Danny Champion of the World? Where there was a cane laying in the middle of the sidewalk.

G: *Shyly shaking her head and tapping her hand* ... ... .... .... Nooooo... The school cane.

E: OOOOOOoooooo!!!! I know what you're talking about! Where Danny gets hit on the hand with the cane!

*Gwen nods*

D: Gwennie, so you liked the part with the cane in the school?

*Gwennie nods*

D: What did you like about it, Gwen?

G: I'm not sure why I liked it.

D: So, you liked the fact that he got hit?

G: No.

D: You liked it because you remember it?

G: Yeah.

D: Because it was interesting and you're glad it doesn't happen anymore?

G: Yeah.

D: El, what was your favorite part?

Eleanor: I liked the pheasant part. And the pheasants on the car. Where

D: Girls, who was your favorite character in the book?

G: Uhhh. The dad.

E: I liked the dad and Danny. AND everybody else. I had a dream about Danny Champion of the World. Well, it was similar to that. It was about Danny, but it wasn't exactly the same. They were at the store, and Mr. Hazell came in, and Danny's dad gave Danny one of those "funny looks" and suddenly they were both outside. And then, they poured protein - like hard boiled protein that's been in eggs already - they poured lots and lots of it on Mr. Victor Hazell, and they.... and it got all over the ground, and there was a whole bunch. And it got all over their leg. Like, right up to HERE on their leg. (Shows me on her leg.) It would be lower on your leg, because you're taller. And then they fell, and they rolled all over the place, but it didn't hurt because there was so much egg white and protein all over the place. Mr. Victor Hazell and the pheasants drove away really fast, and they poured more egg white all over the place, and-

D: Wait, who poured egg white all over the place? Mr. Victor Hazell?

E: Well, I guess it was tracked out into the streets, because it was all over his car, too. And then there was more falling over, and rolling around. And then, they had ice cream. The cause of the celebration was that they'd never have to see Mr. Victor Hazell again. And, in the dream, it was a bright sunny day, but the egg whites made it look like snow.

D: I'm not sure that this is actually a review of the book, but I love it when you (or I) get into a book so much that we start dreaming about it.

E: Well, that's the dream.

D: Gwennie, anything else to add? Anything else you want me to say about the book that you really like? Gwennie, was there anything you didn't like in the book?

G: Well, nothing made me sad or scared. So, no. ...Well, actually, I didn't like when they stole Mr. Victor Hazell's pheasants, and when the dad left Danny alone. I thought he shouldn't do that. He shouldn't leave his kids without telling them.

D: Did you get worried that we would leave you without telling you?

G: No. (Shakes head very sincerely.) (Very sweetly again says) No.

D: Gwen, of course we'd never leave you without telling you.

G: *Smiles* I know.

D: Is that it?

E: Poppy? Anything you want to say about the book?

P: Yeah. GOOD!

E: Poppy says it was a good book.

(Again, for the record, Poppy didn't read it with us.)
Profile Image for Alex Ankarr.
Author 92 books142 followers
May 27, 2018
I loved Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a kid (the squirrels! the Oompa-Loompas!). But this is the Roald Dahl book that has stayed with me, and a lot of other people I've met along the way. Like any really outstanding kids' book it has a lot to say to, and about, adults.

Danny has a warm and loving relationship with his Dad: it's a touchstone that gives him a measure for sane and healthy adult behaviour. It enables him to see the reverse, too: when an adult is nothing but a tall child, using a position of power and control to get off on exerting that power. He sees clearly, cannot be gaslit: he has the insight to know there are not two standards of ethical behaviour between children and adults, or indeed between any two groups of people. If an adult lies to his face, then calls him a simply awful little liar, he is not confused and not convinced.

Projection, much? There's a lot of it about, of course: the corrupt impugn the honesty of others, the self-important want to take others 'down a peg or two'. It's a misdirection that works with the sheep, the weak and the stupid, often enough. But you can't piss on Danny's shoes and tell him it's raining: he knows what ethical behaviour in good faith looks like, and what it don't, bud.

Love gives him wisdom, and strength: but of course even the kindest most loving adult is a well of secrets, and Danny finds out his Dad is a more complex character than he dreamed... Isn't everyone? That's part of growing up, too.

Absolutely darling illustrations in the old Puffin edition by Jill Bennet, rather less enchanted by Quentin Blake.
Profile Image for Jessica.
Author 28 books5,675 followers
May 24, 2018
Despite having read pretty much all of Roald Dahl's other books, I had not read this one until recently. I don't know why. It was hugely popular when I was in second and third grade, but among the boys, and I had sort of dismissed it as a "boy's book." It is in fact a wonderful, lyrical book, some of Dahl's best writing. And it's not just a heart-warming tale of a boy and his father. Nope. It's a how-to for poaching pheasants. Brilliant.

Update 2018: Read it aloud to the kids. We loved every page! Kids do prefer a parent who is SPARKY!
Profile Image for Rhea (Rufus Reads).
76 reviews121 followers
August 25, 2020
Sparkly! That's how this made me feel inside. Or perhaps akin to when I've downed a mug of hot chocolate. I actually think this is a rather useful "guidebook to new parents" than a children's book, but maybe that's because I'm only discovering Dahl in my adult life.

The book's plot (more or less): Danny's a little boy who grows up being in love with his father. They go through some amazing adventures together. And Danny continues to be in love with his father. The end.

This book has all the fuzzies! Scrumptious meals, scintillating secrets, nerve wracking plans, beautiful relationships, and humble joys. This one book can take care of your entire emotional range.

I picked this up when I found myself drudging along with two brain-power heavy non fiction books and life felt annoyingly overwhelming. Danny was just the perfect twinkle in my life.
Profile Image for Leah.
664 reviews90 followers
October 15, 2020
I just love Roald Dahl books :)

Entertaining book! Well written and I love the little quirks in Dahls writing.

This book is about a father and son who live humbly in a caravan. The father teaches the boy all about mechanics and the boy picks it up quickly. One night the boy notices the father is not on his bunk and is missing and later his father tells him his deep deep dark secret - he poaches pheasants from the towns jerk of neighbor.

I wouldn't read this book to kids lol because it talks about the benefits of poaching pheasants from mind you an asshole of a man but still, kids shouldn't read this lol Don't want to give them any ideas.
Profile Image for Myricae ♡.
121 reviews27 followers
September 11, 2020
Chi ha detto che un genitore non può essere un amico ? Un compagno d’avventura eccezionale ?

Attraverso gli occhi luccicanti di questo papà eccezionale, le mani ruvide e sporche di olio per motori, ho ritrovato i sabati pomeriggi della mia infanzia, quando io e il mio di papà c’è ne andavano a zonzo insieme, solo io e lui.
Frittelle con zucchero e gelato, cartoni animati stupidi e altalene spinte talmente in alto da dare un brivido lungo la schiena. Ricordo ancora quella sensazione adrenalica che ti dava lo slancio: l’illusione di poter volare via dal sellino da un momento all’altro per toccare le nuvole nel cielo azzurro della sera.

Leggendo questo piccolo libro ho ritrovato tutta l’emozione di quei momenti e la dolcezza senza confine dei momenti passati insieme, mano nella mano, in avventure semplici e piene di magia; dei segreti condivisi e degli occhiolini di intesa, scambiati di nascosto da tutti.

A quel tempo il mondo era solo nostro... e forse è ancora così.
Sono grata di avere avuto il miglior papà del mondo, e ancora una volta, sono grata a Roald Dahl, per avermelo ricordato ♥️
Profile Image for Dana Salman.
353 reviews87 followers
August 31, 2009
A bit far-fetched. I'd passed by this book many times before and it never caught my interest on account of it being long and the title not being more discriptive. You could be the champion of the world through many things; doing something exceedingly difficult or impossible, inventing something that could cure world hunger, or something else equally huge. Drugging two hundred pheasants is not exactly what I had in mind. All that crap Danny's father talks about poaching being an art. Who in their right minds would consider stealing an art? I mean, if it were for the greater good I can see about doing it at all, but because you YEARN to do it? What's so fun about trying to steal a couple of stupid birds when the consequences include going to jail or getting shot? If you ask me, this might've been a bit more interesting if Danny HAD landed in jail. But he didn't, and it's not. It was boring. Long and boring, the worst of combinations. I didn't exactly hate it, but it's not something I would go out of my way to re-read.
Profile Image for Sheila Beaumont.
1,102 reviews148 followers
July 31, 2019
This is one of the very few books by Roald Dahl that I hadn't read before, and I'm so glad I didn't miss out on it! It's a brilliant story about the loving relationship between Danny and his father.

Also, it includes detailed instructions on how to poach pheasants.

I love the way the main point of the story is summed up in a note to young readers at the very end: "A stodgy parent is no fun at all! What a child wants and DESERVES is a parent who is SPARKY!"

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