on 5 March 2012
I can honestly say, hand on heart, that this story changed my life. As a child I was not even remotely interested in books, not one bit. I would dig for worms or play Cinderella but sit and read or be read to, no thank you. I can remember as though it was yesterday (and not 20 odd years ago) it was pouring rain - the type that even puts off the meanest of dogs - so there was no chance we were visiting the beach, instead my father sat me down with my rabbit, we curled up on bean bags with blankets and he read me Matilda. I have read everyday since, the biggest and fullest room in my house is my library (I have thousands of books and no space to house new adventures) but I will never stop and I can thank Roald Dahl for my lifelong obsession with reading.
This is beautifully presented and a true treasure, exactly what you should expect with the name Roald Dahl on the front cover.
on 20 October 2001
This is a really exciting book for 8 year olds.I have really enjoyed this book I think others will aswell.Some parts made me laugh,and others made me very ,very happy!!!!!
Matilda is a special little girl with magical powers. Her parents are miserable but she finds happines with Miss Honey,her teacher.It is full of adventures that allows her to escape from her parents.You can't put the book down once you have started.
Rebecca Moss, aged 8.
on 19 January 2000
When I was set the task of writing about my all time favourite book. I spent hours and hours thinking hard, should it be a classic like Hobbit, maybe a horror book. Then it struck MATILDA the best book I have ever read.
I saw the film, Matilda (three times), and my dad told me the story came from a book. I asked if I could read it, and he brought it for me. It took me a month to read it, and I was sucked into a new world full of mischief and wonder it was more exciting than watching television.
Matilda is a small girl who can read and write at the age of 2 and is truly clever. When she starts school she helps drive out the evil headmistress, Mrs Trunchbull, with her magic powers.
All of Roald Dahl's key works contain common features that make his books special and unique. Apart from gripping tales of the unexpected, the key reason for their appeal is in the treatment of the baddies in the story. However, Dahl counters this rollicking, uproarious and wicked humour with deep relationships between the young protagonist and a sensible grown-up in his social circle. This theme features throughout most if not all his works, and was first introduced when he wrote Danny, the Champion of the World, maturing when Dahl wrote The BFG, The Witches (Puffin Novels)and Matilda.
On the surface, Matilda may be a gripping yarn that revolves around Matilda's environment of Crunchem Hall Primary School and the domain of fearsome Miss Trunchbull, arguably the most revolting villain that Dahl ever created. This harks back to his own dark days as a student. As with all his books, Dahl keeps his audience of young readers in mind. Not only is his style easily accessible and lively, but he sides with his young audience through his writing, He draws the characters of Miss Trunchbull and Matilda's repulsive parents such that they convey revolting personas and you wouldn't want to befriend them. Dahl particularly draws the character of the Trunchbul effectively such that we readers can really feel her as a "holy terror that frightend the life out of the pupils and teachers alike". I admit that this book dwells a little too much on the Trunchbull's torturous punishments, but these only serve to make the Trunchbull more real. A signature twist to make this a tale of the unexpected is when Miss Honey reveals that Matilda's father was a crook who sold stolen cars.
However, the understated core of the book should be Matilda herself and her relationship with Miss Honey. His portrayal of this relationship offers distinct echoes of Danny's relationship with his father in Danny the Champion of the World. From the moment that Dahl first introduces us to Matilda's maturity, we know that we are getting to know an extraordinary little girl. In spite of her sensitive and brilliant mind, she is a character who engages our sympathies. Matilda always strives to break free of the thrall of her crooked family, especially her father, who acts and talks like a gangster towards her. This serves to make the tricks she plays on her parents not just hmorous clowning around, but rather compelling. In a way this is reminiscent of the tricks that thw Twits play on each other. Matilda strikes up an acquaintence with Miss Honey and quickly learns of Miss Honey's situation. She is then able to do things in her power to help her and restore her rightful claim to her father's inheritance. This may appear to be self-interest on Matilda's part, but sshe does this because she shows a genuine sympathy to Miss Honey's plight.
In short, this swansong in Dahl's long children's novels stands as an undisputed masterwork and demonstrates the maturity in Dahl's children's writing. It's truly a work that shows Dahl at the top of his game, at the pinnacle of his writing career, and sums up all that his children's writing has come to stand for. (Apparently he spent 20 years writing this book.) Although I could have done with less coverage of the Trunchbull's cruelty, this book is still an undisputed Dahl classic that deserves to be up there with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fantastic Mr. Fox and The BFG.
on 8 September 1999
First I heard of Matilda is when it was a motion picture... Unfortunately I could not see it and I have completely forgotten about it until I saw it. I am a great fan of Roald Dahl with his twists and I was searching some other books by him and I came across (no I actually, met) Matilda. She was smiling to me and without hesitation, she was in my basket!! I never regret that!! There are some books, that you can start reading over as soon as you finish it, and Matilda is one of them. She is very sweet and sensual and very clever. I felt from the very beginning that she deserves the best. I felt as if she is a real human being, living somewhere in England, and I felt I should go to her, find her, console her, mother her... The end is a classical fairy tale end, the good wins it all and the bad gets punished but this is something that we 20th century readers, "live-r"s forgot long, long ago.. The book remind me of the tales my grandmother used to tell me when I was a kid and I was fascinated with it. Now, whenever a little kid comes to me and asks me to tell a fairy tale, I tell her the story of the little Matilda, the kids love it.. Although I would love to have a child, I do not have one, and I am saving my Matilda, for my children, but I am sharing it with all the children. According to me, Matilda is the best children's book for our century, and maybe the best book Roald Dahl has written. I would very much like her to be an actual human being, but never growing up, and to be able to meet her and Roald Dahl face to face one day. The book is a savior for me when I am stressed or depressed, it reminds me that life is worth living for and every tunnel has a light at the end.
on 15 June 2012
I purchased this book for my grandaughter to give her as an introduction to her 8th birthday present. This was a trip to London to see Matilda the musical so I appreciated that it was linked to the show. She loves reading Roald Dahl but Dad wanted to read it to her as he enjoyed it so much. The show was amazing, and like the book, addresses a lot of dark issues that can affect children and they really identify with both the book and the film.
on 28 March 2010
The book is about Matilda who is a kind, clever, little girl who has a benevolent teacher called Miss Jenny Honey. It details her life with horrible, cruel parents and the head teacher Miss Agatha Trunchbull.
Matilda has some incredibly hilarious and entertaining parts that I was laughing at even when I was asleep! One example is when Miss Trunchbull said, "I've got eight coconuts, eight monkey nuts and eight nutty idiots like you", as part of a weekly test in Maths. Sometimes kids get back at the head by tying knots in her enormous shorts and putting itching powder in them, so that she jigs and scratches her privates during prayer time!!!!!
My favourite chapter is the Platinum-Blond Man where Matilda's scruffy, black-haired dad accidentally dyes his hair blond! The ending reminds me of the ending of Roald Dahl's Cinderella where she gets married to a honey man. Both stories end with the unlucky character changing family and having a happy ending.
I highly recommend this book for 8-9 year olds who enjoy fun and hilarious adventures and give it 5 stars.
by Arantxa Flores Gonzaga, age 8
on 2 July 2004
Have you ever heard of a girl that has magical powers?
This book is about a girl that can do magic. Matilda has two horrible parents and a horrible brother. They have been very cruel to her and are mean to her because she is cleverer than them. She goes to school when she is 6 years old. She has a mean headmistress called Miss Trunchbull, and Miss Trunchbull throws somebody out of the window. Miss Honey, Matilda's teacher, is kind and nice.This book is all about how Matilda escapes from school and her parents.
My favourite character is Matilda because she is cleverer than everybody else.
My favourite part is when Miss Trunchbull swings a girl round by her hair and throws her across the playground.
I would recommend this book to people aged 7-11 because they would find it very funny.
on 19 February 2002
This Roald Dahl classic, is definitely one of his best. The book not only has a terrific plot, and excellent characters, but also contains many issues that have to be faced by young Children. The book had me laughing throughout!
My favourite Dahl, always and forever. And now I've listened to it with my son. What more can a parent want?!
A lovely adaptation by Kate Winslet, with some northern/Lancashire accents I wasn't anticipating, but that I ended up enjoying and feeling fit the characters. Nice to listen to, clear and not too fast for a child to follow.
How did Dahl make it so my favourite childhood book concerned the life of a 5 year old girl? It's almost unheard of, usually a reader will identify with a protagonist their own age. Matilda, of course, is unique in children's books - precocious yet innocent, smart but unknowing. It's the revolting adults around her and her revenges and acts upon them that stir the reader into identifying with and never being able to forget this book.
My son is 5 and just adored it, he wouldn't let us out of the car until we'd heard whether Bruce Bogtrotter finished the chocolate cake. He grinned from ear to ear when Matilda dyes her father's hair. And the look of satisfaction on his face at the conclusion was a joy to behold.
That's the unforgettable joy of a good book. Despite her unloving and hideous parents, Matilda teaches herself to read, to view her family critically, but to rise above it. My husband and I shuddered as her mum leaves her alone each day to play bingo, as she walks to the library alone!!!! Her small triumphs over her father only whet the appetite for what it to come.
More delights await the reader - the fantastic Miss Trunchbull (we had to look at a paper copy so my son didn't miss out of Quentin Blake's superb rendering of her onto the page) and all she represents - greed, masochistic pleasure in pain and suffering. Seeing the small girl's talents recognised by the teacher who at first appears to be a minor character only there to highlight the difference between a good teacher and a bad one, but who in fact drives the rest of the story.
As a 21st century adult, Crunchem Hall seems rather twee and strange (learning the two times tables in your first week?!), but it doesn't make this feel out of date, somehow. The children have intervals rather than breaks, corporal punishment is present, they learn arithmetic.
My son guessed the twist (the aunt) unexpectedly, and - well - when Matilda's powers become apparent, he just ADORED the direction the story was taking.
This story has it all - clever child, revolting adults destined to be thwarted, families good and bad magic powers, school and friends, a chocolate cake. From 5 to 95, you'll not regret a re-read, or letting a child discover it for the first time.