Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
Illustrator: Quentin Blake
Published by Puffin on August 16th 2007
Genres: Middle Grade
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Can Danny and his father outsmart the villainous Mr. Hazell?
Danny has a life any boy would love—his home is a gypsy caravan, he's the youngest master cat mechanic around, and his best friend is his dad, who never runs out of wonderful stories to tell. But one night Danny discovers a shocking secret that his father has kept hidden for years. Soon Danny finds himself the mastermind behind the most incredible plot ever attempted against nasty Victor Hazell, a wealthy landowner with a bad attitude. Can they pull it off? If so, Danny will truly be the champion of the world.
Dahl’s writing is wonderfully descriptive while remaining simple and easy to follow. He just has a style that is perfectly suited for children.
This book really wasn’t about the pheasants at all, and that’s one of the things I like about Dahl. You never really notice what the story is mainly about until the end or afterwards. This book is a heartwarming story of success on the part of Danny, but it’s mostly about his relationship with his father. His father was marvelous and their relationship was the best. Was it influenced in some way by the fact that his mother had died when he was young? Perhaps, but I think it would still have been wonderful. His father was simply one of those people that is exciting, and that’s what kids need and want growing up.
Revenge is often a theme in Dahl’s books, and this is no exception. There is always at least one absolutely awful character that needs to get what’s coming to him/her, and the main character usually delivers. This is the case with Danny, his father, and Victor Hazell, although it’s the method of delivery that is truly remarkable. It’s quite exciting. True to Dahl’s style, there are some not-so-child-friendly elements to the story, but it’s still a book I wouldn’t hesitate giving to my children. The message about relationships is clear and strong enough.
Less than perfect:
This was a great tale of success for Danny and his father, but what was most important was the relationship between the two. The writing was superb as usual, perfect for children, and the characters were engaging. Would I read more by Roald Dahl? Most certainly. As much as I can. Would I recommend this to others? Definitely.