Danny the Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Interest Level: Grades 3 – 5
Reading Level: Grade level Equivalent: 5.5

Danny lives in a caravan with his father behind an old filling station. It’s an idyllic life for a boy. He doesn’t start school until he is seven and can rebuild an engine perfectly. His father is a terrific story teller, makes kites, and fire balloons. Danny concedes that turning 9 wasn’t the best year that he’d ever had, but certainly was the most exciting. Danny wakes up one night and looks for his father. He is gone. Certainly he has fallen and hit his head. He waits and waits. Finally, his father comes back with….a secret. It’s a secret that has been passed down from his father and now he will pass it down to Danny. It involves raisins.

This is my favorite Roald Dahl book. Reading it 35 years later than the original time was just as exciting. I had forgotten about the story within a story of the BFG. A quick peek at the Wiki tells us that the BFG was published in 1982 whilst Danny was published in 1975. He tried out his BFG idea in Danny! I was fascinated by Danny’s father’s inventions as a child, realizing now how simple they were. Danny was actually written in a gypsy caravan that was in Dahl’s back yard. Danny might have set the tone in my life of the importance of storytelling. My boys give me three things each night, two similar and one different. I have to make up a story. Then I give them 3 things and they have to make up a story. After age 10, when I read Danny, I never looked at raisins the same way again.

Dahl, R., & Bennett, J. (1975). Danny, the champion of the world. New York.