Friday, April 9, 2010

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda by Roald Dahl book cover
by Roald Dahl
Puffin, 1988
240 pages
Children's Fantasy

Summary in a Sentence:

Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.

 My Thoughts:

"I'm wondering what to read next." Matilda said. "I've finished all the children's books."

Confession: This is probably my sixth or seventh reading of Matilda, but it's my first reread as an adult, and I still love it as much as I did as a child. Oh, Matilda, how I love thee!

I had forgotten how much Quentin Blake's illustrations make the book. Although Dahl's descriptions of the formidable Ms. Trunchbull's administration and the Wormwoods' laudable parenting skills are hilarious, my favorite part of the book is most definitely the first few chapters. I had forgotten how sarcastic and biting Dahl can be. He didn't write down to children in his books. He didn't sugar coat or whitewash the ideas in his books.

I love Matilda's story. The daughter of dimwitted and self-centered parents, 4 year old Matilda wanders into the village library and promptly teaches herself to read, soon working through all the children's books, then moving on to Dickens and Kipling. The public library and the librarian have a front and center role in the opening chapters of the book as Matilda develops a deep love of literature.

Although Matilda's genius goes ignored by her parents, Miss Honey, her kindergarten teacher, soon recognizes Matilda's intellectual abilities and her need for a supportive force in her life. Matilda's untapped mental abilities soon manifest themselves in some interesting special powers that she first tries out on her father, then on the school's headmaster, Miss Trunchbull.

This book is quirky, funny, top notch storytelling. 

P.S. I stumbled across Dahl's awesomely wonderful website, complete with games, book descriptions, and a very dangerous-to-your-wallet store.


Mel u said...

Matilda is a great book for young readers-we read it to my then 6, 8 and 11 year old daughters and they totally loved it-we have the movie now and it really is a lot of fun also-really happy to see your great post on this wonderful books for adults and kids

emily said...

Awesome review! I was completely obbessed with Matilda when I was 8 years old. I probably watched the movie 6 ties:]

April (BooksandWine) said...

I love Roald Dahl! Call me a fan girl or what have you. This review makes me super happy. You are spot on with the Blake illustrations, they really do add something special to the books.

And yes, I have seen the movie upwards of 20 times.

Moar posts about older books, plz! Seriously, these posts are the BEST.

brizmus said...

Matilda, Matilda, Matilda
Seriously, Roald Dahl has to be one of the awesomest authors of all time, and I think pretty much all of her books stand the test of time and age.
Loved your wonderful review! :-)

Literary Feline said...

I haven't read this one, but I think I saw a movie based on the book? I can't remember. It sounds like it though. This sounds like a terrific book regardless.

Helen said...

I used to love Roald Dahl and Matilda was one of my favourites! Thanks for bringing back some great memories. I'm going to check out his website now. :)

Anonymous said...

This book brings me back. It's a classic for sure! Great review!

Sharyla said...

I love The BFG, I reread it recently and was in love all over again, though I don't think that I've ever read Matilda....I will have to soon!

Jenners said...

I missed this somehow ... I need to read it .. it sounds delightful. And I love that Dahl doesn't sugarcoat things or talk down to kids. I think kids respect that.

JaneGS said...

I never read Mathilda when I was young, but I discovered it when my kids hit elementary school, and read it many times to them, even after they were old enough to read it themselves. A really wonderful book.

Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) said...

I love this book so much. I haven't read it in quite awhile, but when I was young I related to Matilda feeling out of place everywhere but school. And I agree -- I love the images too.

Katy said...

What a fun book to re-read as an adult! I forgot how much I liked Matilda when I was a girl. Roald Dahl is fantastic.

Enbrethiliel said...


Matilda is a real treat! =)

I wish more people reviewed "old"/classic books and childhood favourites.

Gav said...

i loved mathilda as a kid!!

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