This book was my favourite Roald Dahl book, of all time!
This is a book that I first read when I was a child. I distinctly remember having an audio cassette which had the story on it.
As part of my 'reading more in 2019 challenge', I re-read this book (in the form of an audiobook).
Danny lives with his father, in a caravan, where his Dad operates a service station and a garage. When Danny is nine years old, he discovers that his father is an poacher. He poaches up in Hazell's Wood, where there are hundreds of pheasants. The land belongs to the obnoxious rich man, Victor Hazell.
Danny first finds out about his father poaching when he wakes up late one night to see his father return from a poaching trip. Once, Danny's father, William, tells Danny all about poaching, Danny agrees to letting his Dad go poaching, so long as Danny is told before hand.
On the night of William's second poaching adventure, at 2:10 am the next morning, Danny wakes up and realises his father hasn't returned. Worried about what has happened to him, Danny, who has been brought up surrounded by cars all his life, decides to drive the car that was in the workshop , an Austin Seven, to go and find his Dad. He finds him, in a trap, incapacitated by a broken ankle.
While William recovers from his injury, he and Danny realize Mr. Hazell's annual pheasant shoot is approaching, to which he invites dukes, lords, barons, baronets, wealthy businessmen, and so on. They hatch a plan to humiliate him by capturing all the pheasants in the forest. They place the contents of the sleeping pills prescribed by the village doctor, Doc Spencer, into raisins that the pheasants will eat; William calls this new method "Sleeping Beauty".
Having successfully hunted 120 pheasants from Hazell's Wood, William and Danny take a taxi (driven by a fellow poacher) to the vicarage, where they hide the pheasants, and afterwards walk home. The next day, Mrs. Clipstone, the vicar's wife, delivers the sleeping pheasants in a specially built pram. However, the effect of the sleeping pills starts to wear off and the pheasants start flying out of the baby carriage, but not far, as they're still sleepy.
It is at this point that Mr. Hazell arrives. With the help of Sergeant Samways, the village policeman, William and Danny shoo the stunned pheasants over (and inside) Mr. Hazell's Rolls Royce, damaging the car's paintwork. As Mr. Hazell leaves disgraced, all of the pheasants wake up completely and fly away in the opposite direction from Hazell's Wood.
The book ends when Danny is hailed as "the champion of the world" by everyone. Six pheasants have died of a sleeping pill overdose, so most of the characters don't go away empty handed.
The book ends with William and Danny walking into town, intending to buy a new oven to cook their pheasants, and later plan to do some trout-tickling in a nearby wood.
Thanks for Reading 🙂 x