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Author: Roald Dahl

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Publisher: Penguin Group, 2007 (reprint)

Material: paperback

Summary: Danny (9) and his dad William are very close, as Danny's mom died many years ago. Together, they live in a gypsy caravan behind a gas station where they work as mechanics. Danny's father own the only spot between a sea of land owned by a Mr. Victor Hazell, whom Danny's father detests. At night, while Danny sleeps, his Dad goes out poaching ... usually on Mr. Hazell's land. His dad wants to be a champion poacher like Danny's grandfather. Together (with some other townsmen) they conspire to steal all of Mr. Hazell's pheasants before Hazell's shooting party. Who will win this battle of wits? This is realistic fiction for upper elementary and middle grade readers; and young listeners.

Type of Reading: bedtime story, independent reading, read aloud book

Recommended Age: read together: 7 to 10; read yourself: 10 to 12

Interest Level: 7 to 12

Reading Level: 4.7

Age of Child: Teen STAR Review Team, Be the Star You Are!™

Young Reader Reaction: Roald Dahl's unique sense of writing makes his books a joy to read, moving with a quick pace as well as an innocent, childish humor. He gives Danny a somewhat realistic aspect to relate to as well as a clearly fictional aspect (I mean really what nine-year-old can drive a car?). I recommend this book for all young boys, a thoroughly enjoyable book through and through.

Adult Reader Reaction: I think you have to be a Dahl fan to truly appreciate the story. There are life lessons, but I'm not sure I like the idea of a dad demonstrating the destruction (and theft) of someone's property.

Pros: Readers who like Roald Dahl will enjoy this tale of a father and son making their way in the world.

Cons: Unlike Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, this one seems to condone anger and revenge.

Borrow or Buy: Borrow. This is a story that will be a matter of taste.

If You Liked This Book, Try: THE BFG (The Big Friendly Giant)   STEALING HEAVEN   THE CASE AGAINST MY BROTHER

Educational Themes: There are many lessons to be drawn, and plenty to discuss. Do the ends (saving the pheasants) justify the means (stealing)?

Notes: A Reading Tub volunteer submitted this review. She borrowed the book from the local library.

Literary Categories: Fiction - realistic fiction, family, classic literature, middle grade

Date(s) Reviewed: December 2011

Other Reviews: See Critics' Reviews and reader feedback at and


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