Danny the Champion of the World
At the age of 54, coming up 55, this may not sound a lot to brag about, but today I finished reading 'Danny the Champion of the World' and I am so very happy. You see as a lover of books, one who used to read every day, I've not read a book for a very long time - though I did manage the Silmarillion last year (I think). Every time I start a book my brain struggles to remember what it reads - be this because of my mental illnesses or the tablets I rattle with, I'm not really sure - and it's been getting me down, frustrated, annoyed, and no matter how hard I try I keep failing. So my lovely wife - the far better half of me - suggested I read something simple.
One of her favourite books...
DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD by Roald Dahl (illustrations by Quentin Blake)
Surprisingly, I'd never read it.
So she ordered it for me.
You see I read a large amount of Dahl when I was a youngster. Many, many of his works. But for some reason I'd never fancied picking up Danny the Champion of the World. I think I figured, as a child, that no one could ever be champion of the world and so I just never bothered with it. Silly title. So here I am, at nearly 55, picking it up nightly to read, and over the course of a couple of weeks - at the pace of a chapter a night - finishing it today.
And I loved it.
The story was fun too.
Yes, it took a long time for such a short book, but I don't care. I enjoyed meeting Danny and his father, the poverty of their lives again sadly true for many children in the UK today, and the love they enjoyed together. Being sparky makes a child's life, their memories, the closeness with a parent. An important lesson. I also laughed at the thought of today's Tories - ugh - reviling the topic of poaching, picturing Jacob Rees-Mogg and Suella Braverman incandescent with rage at such activity (they being the epitome of Mr Victor Hazell). It was nice too, to see the old village policeman make an appearance; a caricature in a child's eye today perhaps, but I can assure you in the 1970s and '80s they were exactly like this.
Is it the best book in the world? No. Probably not. It's simple, a children's story, but it gets an easy 5 stars from me for getting my brain to engage, read nightly, and remember. Now I'm looking for a new book to read tonight. So I'm happy I have that enjoyment and anticipation that books bring, alive in me again. Certainly, forever now and at grandad-type age, Danny the Champion of the World hold a special place in my heart. Kids should certainly read it, and it wouldn't do any harm for grown-ups to pick it up again as well...
Danny the Champion of the World - Illustration by Jill Bennett
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