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Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl is one of the most underrated books I have read. In comparison to his other books such as Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, I feel like this book doesn’t get as much praise as it deserves.   

Like his other famous books, Danny, the Champion of the World is very funny and imaginative. The story takes place around 1975 in a United Kingdom filling station (i.e., a gas station), on a country road out among empty fields and woody hills. There is a lot of traffic and the station sees a lot of business. Behind the station is a caravan in which Danny and his father live. You would think that their life was all hard work without any fun, but you would be surprised. 

Danny is a very clever, loyal and helpful boy. He helps his father, a mechanic, fix other people’s cars in the filling station. Danny’s father is described as “sparky” in the book, because he always comes up with amazingly interesting ideas. Like his grandfather, his father is a master poacher of pheasants and has lots of creative ways to catch them. He also has a deep, dark secret, but I’m not telling you it!  

Mr. Victor Hazell is an eccentric millionaire and is fairly well known. Every year, he holds a pheasant-shooting party, which allows people from miles around to travel to his estate to shoot pheasants. He is very conceited and loves his fame. His shooting party has drawn lots of wealthy people to shoot pheasants in trees and then keep the birds for themselves. Danny and his father are very poor and haven’t eaten pheasants in a long time, so they want to eat them now. Mr. Hazell is the archenemy of Danny’s father, so the father and son have to come up with a plan to stop Hazell’s big shooting party. 

What is Danny’s master plan for catching pheasants, and most importantly, will it work? And what makes him the Champion of the World? Find out in Danny, the Champion of the World, a fascinating novel recommended for anyone over the age of eight that will keep you turning the pages. A master storyteller, Dahl never disappoints his readers with his vivid and hilarious detailed descriptions of events. Moreover, his characters are fun, mischievous, and touching. I was especially touched by Danny’s close relationship with his father. The loving bond between them makes Danny, the Champion of the World a memorable book that tickles and warms your heart.  

Danny, the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl. Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1975. Buy the book here and help support Stone Soup in the process!

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