Danny the Champion of the World

by Roald Dahl

Paperback, 2007



Local notes

PB Dah




Puffin Books (2007), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages


A young English boy describes his relationship with his father and the special adventure they share together.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

240 p.; 5.05 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member StormRaven
Danny the Champion of the World is different from a typical Dahl story in that there is nothing fantastical in the story, and Danny has a caring, loving home life. Although Danny’s mother died when he was an infant, leaving Danny alone with his father William (Danny’s father’s name is hidden
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about halfway through the book), Danny's father is kind, caring, thoughtful, and playful. They live in a caravan behind the filling station and auto shop owned and run by William.. The caravan has no electricity, running water, or heat, relying on gas lamps and a gas burner for such things. Danny’s life is still idyllic in a rustic way. He helps his father work on cars (his father even lets Danny delay entering school for a few years to learn how to be an auto mechanic). His father takes time off to play with him, making kites and hot air balloons, and the two of them generally spend most of their waking hours together.

This happy existence is interrupted (and the adventurous elements of the book are introduced) by two elements. The first is a visit from Victor Hazell, the local wealthy bully (who, in the tradition of Dahl villains, is also quite fat). After Hazell threatens Danny, William declines to serve him, and ejects him from his property triggering a series of inspectors to come and harass Danny's father. The second is the mysterious nighttime disappearance of Danny's father, which Danny learns is because his father has been poaching pheasants in Hazell's Wood.

The rest of the book details the various adventures Danny and his father have illegally hunting pheasants on Victor Hazell's property. William teaches Danny the secret of pheasant poaching (raisins are the key). Danny has to rescue his father from a pit trap in which William breaks his ankle, and the two collaborate to try to poach every single pheasant in Hazell's Wood just before a planned hunting event hosted by the bullying Victor Hazell. Oddly, it turns out that virtually everyone in the small village where Danny and his father live is involved in the poaching business in some way, as they find allies in their quest at every turn.

Danny comes up with the idea of using raisins filled with sleeping powder from his father's prescribed sleeping pills (for use to help him sleep with a broken ankle) to catch the pheasants, leading his father to dub him the "champion of the world" at poaching. IN the end, Hazell is humiliated (and his car is ruined) and although the pheasants (mostly) escape, a few stick around for dinner and all ends well as Danny and his father plan more adventures.

Engaging in a little speculation, I note that Dahl's own father died when he was a toddler, and he was sent to a series of boarding schools (at his father's behest, as he thought the English education system was the best in the world despite being Norwegian). Dahl apparently hated the schools, but never told his mother this, because he knew she was thinking of his welfare. Dahl was also horrified by the practice of corporal punishment used in English schools, which is reflected in a scene in Danny in which Danny is unjustly caned by his teacher, arousing his father's ire.

One can feel the ache Dahl had for a childhood with a loving father. Danny's father brings him up in a way almost opposite Dahl's own upbringing: his father is ever present, protective, fun, and caring. If Danny is in trouble, William protects him. If Danny is scared, William comforts him. If Danny is bored, William plays with him. Despite their material poverty, Danny is wealthy in ways that one can only assume Dahl felt that he was deprived. In the end, Danny the Champion of the World is a touching love letter to a father that the author never knew.
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LibraryThing member 2pigs
Amazing book. My favourite book.
LibraryThing member koeniel
I read this book the first time when I was about 13 years old. In those days it was not easy for us Indonesians to get children books in English language, as bookshops sold only books in Indonesian language. English language adult novels you could get in second hand bookshops, but children books
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were rare. Even if you could get it in normal bookshops then the price would be prohibitive because they were imported. My dad usually sourced whatever he could from his expatriate work colleagues who held garage sales when they were leaving the country. One day he came home bringing a pile of Roald Dahl's books from one of these garage sales, and Danny the Champion of the World was on the top. Even though my dad has bought me children books in English language since I was a lot younger, at 13 I was just starting my formal English class at school so this book was perfect for me at that time and it became my favourite book for a very long time. Now, more than twenty years later I re-read the book again and I can understand why I really like the book. I even still like it very much.

Danny lived only with his dad, because his mother died when he was still a baby. Danny’s dad fixed cars and owned a filling station. He’s a wonderful dad, a dad anyone would want to have, but he’s a bit eccentric. First of all, he lived in an old tiny Gypsy caravan, and that’s where Danny grew up. He also wanted Danny to learn to be a good mechanic first, before getting formal education. By the time Danny was seven years old he could already disassemble and reassemble machineries. Danny enjoyed living with his dad immensely because his dad always managed to find interesting and fun things for them to do together. But as Danny said himself, adults often kept dark secrets, and when he was nine years old Danny found out his dad’s dark secret. From then on they embarked on an exciting and dangerous adventure involving lots of pheasants.

I am not entirely sure what makes this book so special to me. Maybe it was the gypsy caravan. Tree houses and caravans conjured up those images of semi dark warm and cosy room where everyone can huddle together. Or maybe it’s the relationship between Danny and his dad. Or most probably the exciting adventure. Among Roald Dahl’s books this one is the one that has less magical adventure. The adventure and the things that happened in this story felt so real it could be us. It’s a bit too difficult to ride Willy Wonka’s great glass elevator but we can live in a nice old caravan with an apple tree that gives you nice crispy apples everyday during the autumn.
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LibraryThing member rainbowdarling
I've loved Roald Dahl since I was a child, and to this day still revere the novels that I knew well before I even hit double-digits. I had never heard of Danny, the Champion of the World until I got it as a Christmas gift a few years ago, so gave it a try this year.

It's fairly clear that children
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are the primary targets for this novel, and it doesn't seem to have the expansive appeal that makes it interesting for adults as well as the children for whom it was intended. Danny is a sweet character, if somewhat lacking in depth, and his father's faults seem contrived at best. It's a very bland good-vs-evil scenario from start to finish. With that clear, I think the book would be a valuable one to read with children, as it could prompt some interesting discussion about morality, stealing and what it means to be a "good" person. The book isn't horrible by any stretch of the imagination. I simply wasn't as enthralled with it as I hoped I would be.
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LibraryThing member ikbinpx2014
Danny couldn’t live with her mother because she died early, but Danny still lives with his awesome father. Danny’s dad owned a filling station and also fixed cars. At that time he lived in an old small caravan that is where he became mature. Danny liked his dad the most because he always found
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something that is interesting and fun. When Danny was seven he already knew how to take apart the engine and fix it again. His dad wanted Danny to be skilled enough to be like his dad when he grows up. When Danny was nine years old he found out the dark secret his dad didn’t tell. After Danny knew the dark secret the adventure began.
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LibraryThing member Naberius
One of my favorite stories of Dahl's, this is a real adventure, albeit somewhat more of a gentle read compared to other books. This was one of my favorite books growing up, and it's one I recommend. Thoughtful and funny, and less edgy than some of Dahl's other books for children.
LibraryThing member Whisper1
This is a simple, gentle story of Danny and his dad
Two wonderful beings living a good life as opposed to a bad

This is a moving story of people who love each other both in day and in night
With no mean and nasty twits or witches causing trouble, toil and fright.

No foxes who are smarter or owls who
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give a wicked hoot
No chocolate or factories or giant peachy fruit

It is a story about a motherless boy who shows in a deep abiding tale
That when your father loves you there's no way that you can fail.
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LibraryThing member AriadneAranea
Danny and his widowed father live in a tiny gypsy caravan parked behind his father’s filling station and garage. Danny absolutely worships his father who seems annoyingly good at everything to do with both cars and parenting. (It ends with the following message to child readers: When you grow up
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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 SPARKY.”)

Anyway, Danny’s father has a secret vice, and it leads to a Great Adventure. And yes it actually is exciting, even for grownups – I was reading this book for at least the second time and even I was on the edge of my seat more than once. :)
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LibraryThing member Superdaisy
How did I miss this Roald Dahl book until now? The relationship between Danny and his father is sweet and heartening, and their adventures are charmingly exciting!
LibraryThing member ALindelof
Danny and his dad have a heart for poching peasents from one of their worsed enemies that are trying to steal their ground. They want to poch all of the peasents in one day but how? This book is good for people that like sneaking and tricking and getting revenge on people.
LibraryThing member jwondga
Danny, Champion of the World was given to me by a friend many years ago. It was one of the few Roald Dahl books I haven't read, so I was excited to read it. I was moved to tears while reading this book - it tells the story about a very positive and healthy relationship between a single-father and
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his son. The book is filled with colourful characters, who feel very real - Roald Dahl's storytelling makes you feel like you know them intimately after only a few paragraphs. I recommend this book to any parent - or anyone who wants to be a parent, father figure, role model or leader. An overwhelmingly positive reading experience, sincere and warm, this book can be enjoyed by anyone of any age. Read it for yourself, read it to your children, recommend this book to all your friends.
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LibraryThing member stipe168
a sweet story of danny and time spent with his father. very nicely done.
LibraryThing member martensgirl
I don't think that this book shows Dahl at his best. Most of Dahl's books are timeless; this book is obviously from a bygone age. Yes, the baddie gets his comeuppance, the poor kid does well etc. but I did find it a little bit dull. It didn't have much of the usual Dahl magic.
LibraryThing member leonardr
The best heist story ever.
LibraryThing member cameronmatarau
why i piced it up?..... i was reading the roald dahl searies and i saw this one caught the coner of my eye. the title took to my atetion and i wanted to know why he was the champion of the world.

why i finnished this book?.....it was interesting and didn't tell you why he was the champion of the
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world until the end and even after you've found out why the story keeps going and it gets even more exiting.

who would reccomend this book to?..... i would reccomend this book to boys mainly but some girls may enjoy it. i think the ages between 10-17 would enjoy it most but some 9 yr olds could enjoy this book.
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LibraryThing member TheReadingTub
Teen reader reaction: Roald Dahl’s unique sense of writing makes his books a joy to read, moving with a quick pace as well as an innocent, childish humor. He gives Danny a somewhat realistic aspect to relate to as well as a clearly fictional aspect (I mean really what nine-year-old can drive a
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car?). I recommend this book for all young boys, a thoroughly enjoyable book through and through.
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LibraryThing member sroslund
Danny and his father live in a small gypsy caravan just big enough for two, next to their small filling station where they both work on engines and fill up gas tanks. They live in a small town and Danny goes to a small school. But Danny’s father has a big, huge secret. One night, when Danny wakes
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up to find that his father is not asleep in the bunk above him, he goes out in search of his father and winds up knowing a lot more about the man than he could ever imagine. There is no other children’s author quite like Roald Dahl - his mastery of melding the worlds of children, adults, and magical fantasy looks so easy, readers are often left thinking: “How does he do that?” As an award-winning author of young and adult fiction, a fighter pilot and spy, and a world-renown philanthropist, nothing seems to stand in Dahl’s way. His characters are brilliant in their wholly-developed, yet simplistically-pure natures and readers can’t help falling in love with each and every one of them (even the baddies). “Danny: Champion of the World” may be one of Dahl’s lesser known children’s books – perhaps few parents and teachers were very thrilled about pushing a book in which the lead character was a pheasant poacher – but it still takes its place amongst Dahl’s pantheon of works as a delightful yarn that teams up adoring father and son in pursuit of the perfect, most-succulent meal. Recommended for ages 8-11.
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LibraryThing member KatWinther
I read this book because I remember Roald Dahl as being one of my favourite authors when I was a child, but sadly this book really dissapointed me. The age group he was aiming for is probably not me, but still I think the execution of the plot was to simple and not many other elements were added.
LibraryThing member marcolinop
Ok book
Little bit confusing bit to long
but i guess it was good to read
LibraryThing member aimless22
An interesting story about a widower raising his young son in England. THe father owns a small parcel of land with a gas station, a workshop, some apple trees and their gypsy caravan home.
Danny learns much from his father from how engines work to how to poach pheasants from the neighbor's woods.
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found it interesting that Danny becomes "champion of the world" when he comes up with a new idea about how to poach the pheasants from the hated neighbor .
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LibraryThing member mporterf
Currently reading this with my 9-year old son. Loving every chapter of it so far...
LibraryThing member tracyhintz
great read alound for class 2, 3, 4th grade. boy who loves his father learns about the importance of making the right decisions in life.
LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Danny has the best father ever- his adventures growing up in a gypsy caravan by a gas station where his father repairs cars are more exciting than anything a regular boy gets to do. Danny's everyday exciting life is made even more exciting by an idea to get revenge on one of the most prosperous and
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influential men in town. Danny has a wild and slightly dangerous plan- if they can pull it off, he will indeed be the champion of the world.
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LibraryThing member AmberTheHuman
I hadn't read this one as a child. I had no idea what it was about ... so I was as surprised as Danny was when it turned out that his father loves to poach pheasants. But it's very sweet and there's a bad guy and it's a fun read.
LibraryThing member ksmyth
This is my favorite kid book! Roald Dahl painted a winsome look back at an earlier, simpler time in English history. Danny is raised by his dad, in less traditional circumstances. Dad has a secret that he allows Danny to participate with, and it is the story of this big adventure. This book should
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be read by every father to every son. It is a great story for any father.
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