I have just finished reading 'Danny, Champion of the World' to my two little girls, and what a pleasure it was. I had never read it before, and the story is both moving and surprising. Danny's mum has died whilst he was quite young, and his dad brings him up in a little caravan on a country lane. The surprise is the joy taken in the art of poaching, and the evasion from the 'keepers'. Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was such a subversive children's author in so many ways.
He had endured tragedy, and this makes all his stories feel so honest and real. His eldest daughter, Olivia, died when she was just seven, so he doesn't shy away from issues such as death. Somehow he seems to just 'get' what kids need from a story, and he never patronises them.
The story made me want to be a better dad. Taking Angela and Clara for there first swimming lessons this week made me feel extremely proud. They tried so hard, and were sooo brave. I'm not the world's best dad. I get shouty when Angela keeps getting out of bed at night (a quick cuddle would be a better solution.) I don't spend enough time helping them with their homework. But I do love them to bits, and try to spend quality time with them each day - reading a story and saying a prayer at night is perhaps the highlight of my day - so a special thank you to Mr Dahl!