Page 2. " While I was still a baby, my father washed me and fed me and changed my nappies "

Danny, the Champion of the World was written in 1975, a time when it was very unusual to write about a father raising a child as a single parent. As Jeremy Treglown (Roald Dahl, A biography) comments, "It is an ode to a newly-prevalant condition".

In 1971, only one in thirteen families was headed by a single parent. By 2004, one in four dependent children lived in a lone-parent family. Most lone parent families are headed by the mother, with fathers representing only around 10% of all lone parents. Dahl was writing about a very rare phenomenon for his time.

Roald Dahl's own father had died when he was only three. William, Danny's father, appears to be an idealised version of the father Dahl would have liked for himself.

Page 4. " cash register to put the money into "

 

Old-fashioned cash registers had a particularly distinctive ring when the drawer opened to put the money in, compared to the electronic versions we use today.

 

Page 9. " an enormous fellow called the Big Friendly Giant, or the BFG for short "

Roald Dahl had a habit of reusing his stories, changing their format slightly on the re-telling.

Danny was first published in Dahl's book Kiss Kiss (for adults) as The Champion of the World. The story is almost identical to Danny, the Champion of the World, but in this version the protagonists are two men, Claud and Gordon. When Dahl first moved to Buckinghamshire he met a local man called Claude who taught him about the countryside and poaching, particularly poaching trout. Dahl used his own experiences with Claude as the basis for this story.

In Danny, the Champion of the World, Danny's father tells him the story of the Big Friendly Giant. In 1982 he published The BFG, making the protagonist of the story a little girl called Sophie, based on his own grand-daughter.

 

   

Page 17. " Let's make a kite, Danny "

Page 20. " Let's make a fire-balloon "

These lanterns look spectacular when released in the dark. See what they look like and how to make them on these videos: