Published by Penguin Books on August 16. 2007
Genres: Middle Grade, humor
Source: Free for Review
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Danny has a life any boy would love—his home is a gypsy caravan, he's the youngest master car 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
Many times, revisiting childhood loves can be disappointing. You build up a memory in your mind so much that when you actually experience it again, the memory of the experience is better than whatever the experience was. This book has been a treasured memory forever. I had a slight concern that reading this again as an adult would make me sad. I love Roald Dahl and I want to celebrate him but I didn’t want to sour another piece of my childhood.
Reading the book again made me remember how much I loved the story. Danny’s relationship with his father reminds me of my own dad, who always had time for me. Danny thinks his dad is the best dad in the world, but I knew in my heard that mine actually was. In the book, Danny and his father make a kite and there are rough directions included. After reading this book I was inspired to make my own kite as a child. I really wanted to make a fire balloon (instructions also included), but my parents weren’t all that wild about the idea.
Luckily, this Roald Dahl book held up well! Reading Danny The Champion of the World as an adult was a completely different experience. It was still the same book that I remembered but it also wasn’t. When I was a child, I never thought about the legalities of poaching or pondered the moral ramifications of Danny’s father’s nightly activities. I just knew that Mr. Hazell was a jerk and he deserved to be punished. Things were black and white when I younger.
If adulthood is identifying with King Triton instead of Ariel, I’m definitely there. However, there are some fringe benefits. If you need me, I’ll be making a fire balloon.
About the Author
Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.
Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.
Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach – when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication of James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.
Roald Dahl also enjoyed great success for the screenplays he wrote for both the James Bond film You Only Live Twice in 1967 and for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, released one year later, which went on to become a beloved family film. Roald Dahl’s popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.
Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the first charity, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, created in 1991, focuses on making life better for seriously ill children through the funding of specialist nurses, innovative medical training, hospitals, and individual families across the UK.
The second charity, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. 10% of income from Roald Dahl books and adaptations are donated to the two Roald Dahl charities.
On September 13, 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that RoaldDahl Day is now marked annually all over the world. September 13, 2016 is Roald Dahl 100, marking 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. There will be celebrations for Roald Dahl 100 throughout 2016, delivering a year packed with gloriumptious treats and surprises for everyone.
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