I recently read The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar, and really loved it. So, I wanted to read more books by Roald Dahl. I had already read Charlie & the Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr. Fox. So, my mom gave me her old copy of Danny, the Champion of the World.
Danny is the story of a boy (named Danny) and his dad who live together in a caravan (like a gypsy wagon), with bunk beds and a small hotplate instead of a stove. They don’t even have a bathroom, but they have an outhouse behind the caravan. They keep their caravan parked behind the gas station and garage that Danny’s father owns. Danny is 9 years old.
They are best friends and they do everything together.
One night, Danny wakes up and his father isn’t in his bed, or anywhere. Danny wonders for hours where he could be. He goes outside and waits, and finally his dad comes home, and he apologizes and then tells Danny where he had been. Danny’s dad is a “poacher”. He goes on other people’s land and tries to get their pheasants to take home for himself. It is very dangerous, but his dad is good at it and finds it exciting.
His dad goes out pheasant poaching again a few weeks later but doesn’t come home by 10:30 (when he promised to be home). At 2AM, Danny wakes up and is worried. He decides to go find his father, but the woods are 6 miles away. So he drives (!) in a car that his father is fixing. He drives really slow, but gets there safely, and finds his father stuck at the bottom of a huge pit, with a broken ankle. Danny helps his dad get out and get home and call the doctor. He goes to the hospital.
The man who owns the woods is very mean and rude to Danny and his dad, so they decide to trick him and try to poach as many of his pheasants as possible. Danny comes up with a plan (to drug the pheasants with sleeping pills and raisins) and take hundreds them home the night before a big shooting party.
I don’t want to spoil the ending, but it is pretty funny. Not everything works out the way Danny and his dad plan, but they still have a great time and a fun adventure.
I really liked this book, because it was just a regular story about a boy and his dad, and not crazy like some Roald Dahl stories.