Danny the Champion of the World

Danny the Champion of the World

by Roald Dahl


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Ten-year-old Danny lives in a gypsy caravan, works on cars all day, and has a best friend who never runs out of surprises and inventions—his father. When Danny's dad shares the secret passion he's been hiding, the two embark on a unique adventure involving a can't-lose plan sure to make Danny the "champion of the world."

Author Biography: Roald Dahl's wonderful and outrageous tales continue to delight children the world over. Some of his most beloved stories include Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, and The Witches.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553155051
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 06/01/1984
Series: Scholastic Literature Guide Series
Age Range: 8 - 12 Years

About the Author

Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Wales of Norwegian parents. He spent his childhood in England and, at age eighteen, went to work for the Shell Oil Company in Africa. When World War II broke out, he joined the Royal Air Force and became a fighter pilot. At the age of twenty-six he moved to Washington, D.C., and it was there he began to write. His first short story, which recounted his adventures in the war, was bought by The Saturday Evening Post, and so began a long and illustrious career.

After establishing himself as a writer for adults, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living in England with his family. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.

Roald Dahl is now considered one of the most beloved storytellers of our time. Although he passed away in 1990, his popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant PeachMatildaThe BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.

Learn more about Roald Dahl on the official Roald Dahl Web site: www.roalddahl.com

Date of Birth:

September 13, 1916

Date of Death:

November 23, 1990

Place of Birth:

Llandaff, Wales, England

Place of Death:

Oxford, England

Read an Excerpt

The Filling Station

WHEN I was four months old, my mother died suddenly and my father was left to look after me all by himself. This is how I looked at the time.

I had no brothers or sisters.

So all through my boyhood, from the age of four months onward, there was just us two, my father and me.

We lived in an old gypsy caravan behind a filling station. My father owned the filling station and the caravan and a small meadow behind, but that was about all he owned in the world. It was a very small filling station on a small country road surrounded by fields and woody hills.

While I was still a baby, my father washed me and fed me and changed my diapers and did all the millions of other things a mother normally does for her child. That is not an easy task for a man, especially when he has to earn his living at the same time by repairing automobile engines and serving customers with gasoline.

But my father didn't seem to mind. I think that all the love he had felt for my mother when she was alive he now lavished upon me. During my early years, I never had a moment's unhappiness or illness, and here I am on my fifth birthday.

I was now a scruffy little boy as you can see, with grease and oil all over me, but that was because I spent all day in the workshop helping my father with the automobiles.

The filling station itself had only two pumps. There was a wooden shed behind the pumps that served as an office. There was nothing in the office except an old table and a cash register to put the money into. It was one of those where you pressed a button and a bell rang and the drawer shot out with a terrific bang. I used to lovethat.

The square brick building to the right of the office was the workshop. My father built that himself with loving care, and it was the only really solid thing on the place. "We are engineers, you and I," he used to say to me. "We earn our living by repairing engines and we can't do good work in a rotten workshop." It was a fine workshop, big enough to take one automobile comfortably and leave plenty of room around the sides for working. It had a telephone so that customers could ring up and arrange to bring their cars in for repair.

The caravan was our house and our home. It was a real old gypsy wagon with big wheels and fine patterns painted all over it in yellow and red and blue. My father said it was at least one hundred and fifty years old. Many gypsy children, he said, had been born in it and had grown up within its wooden walls. With a horse to pull it, the old caravan must have wandered for thousands of miles along the roads and lanes of England. But now its wanderings were over, and because the wooden spokes in the wheels were beginning to rot, my father had propped it up underneath with bricks.

There was only one room in the caravan, and it wasn't much bigger than a fair-sized modern bathroom. It was a narrow room, the shape of the caravan itself, and against the back wall were two bunk beds, one above the other. The top one was my father's, the bottom one mine.

Although we had electric lights in the workshop, we were not allowed to have them in the caravan. The electricity people said it was unsafe to put wires into something as old and rickety as that. So we got our heat and light in much the same way as the gypsies had done years ago. There was a wood-burning stove with a chimney that went up through the roof, and this kept us warm in winter. There was a kerosene burner on which to boil a kettle or cook a stew, and there was a kerosene lamp hanging from the ceiling.

When I needed a bath, my father would heat a kettle of water and pour it into a basin. Then he would strip me naked and scrub me all over, standing up. This, I think, got me just as clean as if I were washed in a bathtub probably cleaner because I didn't finish up sitting in my own dirty water.

For furniture, we had two chairs and a small table, and those, apart from a tiny chest of drawers, were all the home comforts we possessed. They were all we needed.

The lavatory was a funny little wooden hut standing in the meadow way back of the caravan. It was fine in summertime, but I can tell you that sitting out there on a snowy day in winter was like sitting in an icebox.

Immediately behind the caravan was an old apple tree. It bore fine apples that ripened in the middle of September. You could go on picking them for the next four or

five weeks. Some of the boughs of the tree hung right over the caravan and when the wind blew the apples down in the night, they often landed on our roof. I would hear them going thump... thump... thump... above my head as I lay in my bunk, but those noises never frightened me because I knew exactly what was making them.

I really loved living in that gypsy caravan. I loved it especially in the evenings when I was tucked up in my

bunk and my father was telling me stories. The kerosene lamp was turned low, and I could see lumps of wood glowing red-hot in the old stove, and wonderful it was to

be lying there snug and warm in my bunk in that little room. Most wonderful of all was the feeling that when I went to sleep, my father would still be there, very close to

me, sitting in his chair by the fire, or lying in the bunk above my own.

From the Hardcover Library Binding edition.

Copyright 2002 by Roald Dahl; illustrated by Quentin Blake

Table of Contents

The Filling Station
The Big Friendly Giant
Cars and Kites and Fire Balloons
My Father's Deep Dark Secret
The Secret Methods
Mr. Victor Hazell
The Baby Austin
The Pit
Doc Spencer
The Great Shooting Party
The Sleeping Beauty
Thursday and School
In the Wood
The Keeper
The Champion of the World
The Taxi
Rockabye Baby
Good-bye Mr. Hazell
Doc Spencer's Surprise
My Father

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Danny the Champion of the World 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a great book.if u like books that include adventure and mystrey u will like this book. My all time favorite book by rohald dual is the BFG we had to read it for Battle of the books last year and i wanted to read over and over again again. Danny the champion of the world is a great book! U should read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This by far is an outstanding book for young readers. Mr. Dahl not only tells a great adventurous tale, but describes beautifully a close relationship between a boy and his dad. I enjoyed reading this story and I recommend it to all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fantastic little story, I highly reccomend it!
Superdaisy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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!
sroslund on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
Naberius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
Whisper1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a simple, gentle story of Danny and his dadTwo wonderful beings living a good life as opposed to a badThis is a moving story of people who love each other both in day and in nightWith no mean and nasty twits or witches causing trouble, toil and fright.No foxes who are smarter or owls who give a wicked hootNo chocolate or factories or giant peachy fruitIt is a story about a motherless boy who shows in a deep abiding taleThat when your father loves you there's no way that you can fail.
leonardr on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The best heist story ever.
mporterf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Currently reading this with my 9-year old son. Loving every chapter of it so far...
KatWinther on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
cameronmatarau on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
marcolinop on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok book Little bit confusing bit to longbut i guess it was good to read
jwondga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
koeniel on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
ikbinpx2014 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
AriadneAranea on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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. :)
rainbowdarling on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
ALindelof on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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.
t1bclasslibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 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.
stipe168 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
a sweet story of danny and time spent with his father. very nicely done.
ksmyth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
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 be read by every father to every son. It is a great story for any father.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im only at the part when danny finds out its 2:00am and his dad is not back so he goes and drives the baby austin to get to hazzels wood faster than walking
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