With Father's Day fast approaching, we celebrate two of Roald Dahl's best-loved father figures, Fantastic Mr Fox and Danny's champion Dad
Roald Dahl's children's stories are full of what The BFG might call wondercrump chiddlers - from Sophie to Charlie, Matilda to James - but they don't always have the most loving of parents. So, with Father's Day approaching on Sunday 18th June, let's hear it for two of children's literature's sparkiest Dads...
Danny's father is, as Danny himself tells us, "the most marvellous and exciting father any boy ever had." A born storyteller (it's through the bedtime tales he tells Danny that we first hear about the character of The BFG) and seasoned pheasant poacher, he's the original "sparky" parent - and he has many parallels with Roald Dahl himself.
Danny, the Champion of the World is one of the few stories rooted in the English countryside in which Roald lived, and the garage Danny's father worked in was partially inspired by the Red Pump Garage on Great Missenden High Street. Similarly, the gipsy caravan they lived in was based on an actual caravan that sat in the grounds of Roald's countryside home.
But perhaps most importantly, it's the ideal of Danny's father the storyteller that resonates most. As Roald himself tells us at the end of the story - "a stodgy parent is no fun at all. What a child wants and deserves is a parent who is SPARKY."
Danny's father is certainly that.
If you want to celebrate your sparky parent this Father's Day, this beautiful limited edition Quentin Blake print featuring Danny and his Dad is a gift for a real champion.
For more Danny, the Champion of the World gifts, take a look here.
Mr Fox is a clever fellow - indeed he's a fantastically clever fellow, as his wife says. He far outsmarts the horrible farmers who keep him and his family imprisoned in their foxhole.
But he's also a loyal and loving fox who is determined to protect his family. It's his Small Foxes who help inspire his greatest plan to foil those foul farmers. "What fine children I have," he thinks. "They are starving to death and they haven't had a drink for three days, but they are still undefeated. I must not let them down."
And he doesn't.
Interestingly, like Danny, Fantastic Mr Fox is another of Roald Dahl's stories to be set in the Buckinghamshire countryside where he lived. The Fox's home was based on a real tree in the road outside Roald's home, and when Wes Anderson came to adapt the story for his 2009 film he gave Mrs Fox the name of Roald's real-life wife - Felicity.
If your Dad is as brave as Mr Fox, this limited edition Quentin Blake print showing Mr Fox returning from a trip to the farmer's stores makes a suitably fantastic Father's Day gift.
For more Fantastic Mr Fox gifts, take a look here.