Book Review: Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

The Movies of Roald Dahl

Coming to theaters November 13, 2009!
Coming to theaters November 13, 2009!
An excellent rendition of another classic by Roald Dahl.
An excellent rendition of another classic by Roald Dahl.

James and the Giant Peach

Danny, Champion of the World

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Fantastic Mr. Fox

Matilda

Danny, Champion of the World

General Overview

When reading Road Dahl’s, Danny, Champion of the World as a child, I was drawn into the idea of a tight-knit family consisting of simply a father and his son. The closeness between Danny and his father is unmatched in comparison to any other book I’ve read so far in my lifetime; Ernest Hemingway’s The Nick Adam’s Stories is certainly a very close second. Either son or father would do anything for one another.

Within the first few pages of Dahl’s beloved story, we learn that Danny lost his mother when he was only four months old (important to note that the number four could well be a symbol for death, as it is also the symbol for Hades, the ruler of the Underworld in Classic Greek Mythology). Immediately, we have sympathy for Danny whose only companion is his father who runs a filling station and automobile repair shop as their only source of family income. The two share an old caravan, much like the same ones used by traveling Gypsies. We also learn of our antagonist whose name is Mr. Victor Hazell who owns all of the land in town, that is, with the exception of the small plot of land owned by Danny and his father. No matter how much he tries, Mr. Hazell cannot get them to relinquish their land to him and throughout the course of our story, Hazell tries every trick in the book to take their land from them.

The Plot and Moral (minus the spoilers)

I relish the fact that both Danny and his father were dynamic in that they could be responsible in their undertaking in the matter of business and filial piety yet had the testicular fortitude to challenge authority by hunting illegal pheasant. As readers, we learn that the two are not well-off by any means, yet were not poor, as both were well-fed and cared for by each other. From their filling station and auto repair business, they made just enough to get by and seem content with what they had. The pheasant they hunted weren’t exactly needed in order for them to survive, as the two did so in spite of the law that prohibited them from doing so. Consequently, Dahl justifies their crime of pheasant poaching namely because it was crime against their antagonist Mr. Victor Hazell who everyone in town simply loved to hate.

However, the crime of pheasant poaching by both Danny and his father did not go unprovoked. We learn that Danny’s father refused Mr. Victor Hazell service one time, which made Hazell very angry. In turn, Hazell made life very difficult for Danny’s father by sending out inspectors (who were undoubtedly Hazell’s goons) who made false claims that the caravan Danny and his father used for lodging was “unfit” and that their filling station’s petrol (gas) did not meet industry standards. One could clearly argue that part of the reason why Danny and his father poached Hazell’s prized pheasants in the first place was payback for the harsh and unfair treatment they received in the hands of Mr. Hazell. Another reason was because pheasant was a delicacy reserved only for England’s Bourgeoisie or upper-class.

Parallels of Danny, Champion of the World

A few similar stories and even movies come to mind when observing the finer points in author Roald Dahl’s story (which I won’t call a children’s story because of its universal appeal). The story of Robin Hood certainly comes to mind, as Danny and his father’s intention of poaching Hazell’s prized birds was not a selfish act, as both planned to share their bounty with the underprivileged residents of their town who also craved its delightful taste. We could also view this story as being much like the classic Christmas movie, It’s A Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart, in Stewart’s character George Bailey is Danny’s father and Mr. Potter is Mr. Hazell. Both are in essence slumlords whose wish is to take ownership of every parcel of real estate within reach, so as to consequently enslave the masses. Surely, there is much to consider when looking at the differences between ownership and leasing of land. An internal struggle is at work here—between corporation and sole-proprietorship.

Conclusion

I won’t give away exactly what does transpire by our story’s end, but make no mistake that justice is served. There is a very good reason why Danny is hailed as the “Champion of the World” and deservingly so. If you haven’t already, I highly suggest that you read Roald Dahl’s, Danny, Champion of the World, regardless if you’re eight years old or eighty years old! It just might make you wish that you were young all over again. Thank you for reading and please enjoy!

Author Roald Dahl
Author Roald Dahl

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Comments 37 comments

Uninvited Writer profile image

Uninvited Writer 7 years ago from Kitchener, Ontario

Great hub. I love your book reviews, they are so good. I have a lot to learn from you :) Roald Dahl was great.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

One of the things I miss about college, besides the lectures, is the papers. Granted, I didn't get all of them on time, but I enjoyed writing them nevertheless. I'd like to go back someday to get my master's, just no yet!

Thank you as always UW. I always look forward to your comments!


emohealer profile image

emohealer 7 years ago from South Carolina

Great review and a great choice of a book to write a review on...I like what you have to offer...Thanks!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

I figured that many of us have read or at least know of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach. I wanted to showcase this book because not everyone has read it and of course, I love this book!

When I was nine years old, I finished this book and was so proud of myself because it was a really big book for me at the time (approx. 75 pages). But it was pure entertainment for me at the time!

Thanks again, emohealer!


wannabwestern profile image

wannabwestern 7 years ago from The Land of Tractors

I haven't read this book but it sounds intriguing. Roald Dahl has such droll, dry wit. I love his book Witches. Now it's on my list. I too love your book reviews! I always learn something new in them! Cheers!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

I highly recommend reading it. I almost did put spoilers in this review, as I was tempted to delve more into the plot structure, but I'm glad I didn't. Maybe it's better that way! Thank you for coming by, wannabwestern!


Catherine R profile image

Catherine R 7 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

I read the book as a child and again more recently to my own child. You are right - what a wonderful book. Nice review.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you, Catherine. I appreciate your response and am happy to see that Roald Dahl's book is still revered by so many. If and when I do have children, I'll make sure that I do the same!


cosette 7 years ago

wow, one of the few children's books I have not read...and I saw this in the store the other day too. interesting. now I have to go get it. I luv your book reviews...


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Please let me know what you think of it if and when you do read it cosette! It's one of my favorites from Roald Dahl, aside from James and the Giant Peach. Thanks, cosette!


Tutlens profile image

Tutlens 7 years ago

You know, this was one of my favorite books growing up. I just could never remember the name of it. Thanks for reminding me, have to go to Waldenbooks now!


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

That's great to hear, Tutlens...Or you can buy here :D I've only sold one book thus far, and due to the amount of clicks I got, I made a penny for my efforts! In either case, I'm sure that you'll enjoy it just as much as you did when you were a kid, perhaps even more so. Thanks for visiting!


Storytellersrus profile image

Storytellersrus 7 years ago from Stepping past clutter

Your intro made me think of the Italian film, Life is Beautiful. I don't think there is a more poignant father/son relationship expressed in any other media- that I have witnessed anyway. The experience of their connection and the obvious love moves me even now. Thanks for a great hub.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 7 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

You know, I've been meaning to watch that movie! I'll certainly make more of an effort to see it, now that you mentioned that. Another father/son story that I really enjoyed as of late is, "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy...I'm seriously thinking about writing a hub about it. Thanks, Storytellersrus!


stuart747 profile image

stuart747 6 years ago from Colchester, Essex, UK

It has been a very long time since I have read this book, and after reading your review I may try to find a copy to read again, many thanks


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you, stuart747. I really enjoyed this book and my hope was to introduce it to people who have yet to read it and to re-introduce it to those who have read it in the past! Thanks for reading me.


prettydarkhorse profile image

prettydarkhorse 6 years ago from US

hi DOHN< love your book review, simple and accurate, I saw this book in the children library some ten years ago but havent read it yet, I checked in the amazon ten dollars is worth it, thanks for introducing once more another book Dohn, will buy it for my children.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks, Pretty! I appreciate your feedback. I'm sure that your children will enjoy it. I remember I read it in third grade and after having read it, I felt so proud of myself as it was at the time the longest book I ever read :D Thanks again!


apricot profile image

apricot 6 years ago from Italy

You should do book reviews more often- this was fascinating and I could see the book from a new angle. You mentioned 'it's a wonderful life' and I'm really curious because I still haven't got round to seeing the film - I shall will watch it with special interest now you mention the similarity with Danny the champion of the world. Have you read the Witches the way? I love that book - I'd be interested to know what you make of it..


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

I'll tell you what, apricot. You read this book and or see, "It's a Wonderful Life" and I will read, "The Witches' Way." Call it a deal. I'll certainly let you know what I think of it. Thanks for the comment as always!


camlo profile image

camlo 6 years ago from Cologne, Germany

Hi! Enjoyed the hub. A very good review. Back in the seventies, I was an avid fan of 'Tales of the Unexpected'. Thank you for an enjoyable read! Camlo


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks, Camlo! I'll have to check that one out. I appreciate the comment.


BEAUTYBABE profile image

BEAUTYBABE 6 years ago from QUEENSLAND AUSTRALIA.

I loved reading your book review I enjoyed this book at school. There was something special about the closeness that Danny shared with his father that captured me. Loved it too.Great writing Dohn. I enjoy Roald Dahl books as well. I will enjoy reading some more hubs. I am only new to the hubbing world myself. Still learning the ropes. Pleasure to be your fan also. God Bless Dohn BB


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thank you for that, BB. This book was one of my favorites when I was a kid and as an adult when reading it, a flood of memories returned to me. I was so overwhelmed by it that I thought to do a hub about it. Thank you for not only reading this review, but for joining my ranks as well. I look forward to hearing from you again.


sunforged profile image

sunforged 6 years ago from Sunforged.com

You know I found this hub while doing some prelim research om hubs im interested in pursuing..Roald Dahl was my favorite writer growing up..I thought I had read everything, even "Boy" but this book is new to me..so cool, I love the big picture at the end, he looks exactly as I imagined he would..crazy zany old bugger


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Hey, sunforged. Thanks for reading this. The toughest thing for me to do is to choose my favorite Roald Dahl book, as I don't think I could choose just one. He is still one of my favorite authors as he's taught me so much about storytelling. I think that he puts himself in many of his own characters and the BFG is the perhaps the best example of this as his appearance is very much like that of his character! Thanks again.


Truth From Truth profile image

Truth From Truth 6 years ago from Michigan

This sounds like a good story. I will check it out.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

Thanks again, TFT! I read this when I was in the third grade ane was so proud of myself when I did!


scheng1 6 years ago

sigh, I shouldn't read this book review. Now I'm dying to find out what happen.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York Author

That's probably the best comment I can receive as I did exactly what I set out to do! Please read this book! It should be enjoyed for generations to come. Thanks again!


jebin 6 years ago

the stories are nice


2kjh 4 years ago

of course


edwige 4 years ago

roald dahl your books are great i love reading thank you for the books


Nikita 4 years ago

WOW THIS STORY IS GREAT!!!!!!!!YOU ARE A HERO FOR ME ROALD DAHL


Peter 4 years ago

Excellent book review


Max 3 years ago

This book is my childhood


kalpna 3 years ago

nice story the filling station

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