A stodgy parent is no fun at all. What a child wants and deserves is a parent who is SPARKY.

After seeing two musicals last year inspired by Roald Dahl books (Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), I was reminded just how awesome his stories were, and I resolved to read my way through his books this year.

I then promptly forgot, but luckily my boyfriend didn’t – and he bought me the full set of books for my birthday.

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Image taken from Amazon.

 I started with Danny the Champion of the World – the first one in the boxset. First published in 1975, it’s the story of how Danny and his father use their pheasant poaching skills to teach the greedy Mr Hazell a lesson.

The original book cover from 1975.

It’s a fun read, even at my age – and I was surprised by the clearly liberal moral of the story – something I don’t know whether I would have been conscious of at the time. And basically, the story is proposing thievery as a legitimate response to capitalism. Nowt wrong with that, I say (in the context of the story), but I wonder whether any books written these days would have the same approach.

And how’s this for meta – one of the bedtime stories Danny’s father tells him is the story of the Big Friendly Giant, or BFG (published later as a full novel in 1982). Mind. Blown.

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A pheasant, yesterday. (Image from RSPB).

As I was reading, I was intrigued as to whether the poaching techniques described in the book would actually work in real life – only a quick Google later, and turns out they do! Both the Sticky Hat and the Horse Hair Stopper work (see here for more details). Pheasants love raisins, apparently. Strange creatures.

I’m planning to read roughly a book each week – next on the list is James and the Giant Peach.

Today’s quote comes from the beginning of the book. Something to remember for when I become a parent!

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