Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2018 – FEBRUARY READ – Matilda by Roald Dahl

Published February 28, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she’s knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she’s a super-nerd and the teacher’s pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda’s world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there’s the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. (“The”) Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.

She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.

What did I think?:

Disclaimer: Roald Dahl was a staple part of my childhood reading so I may be slightly biased or over-passionate about his work as like most children who read him when they were younger, I adored him and his wonderful stories. I was slightly concerned as I am with all the kid-lit Chrissi Reads and I re-visit, if there happens to be a re-read that I won’t enjoy as much as an adult. I’m delighted to say that Matilda has aged very well and I instantly remembered all the joy I got from this little book, the lines I used to be able to recite off by heart and of course, the glorious illustrations by Quentin Blake which just add a little extra something special to Roald Dahl’s expert story-telling.

If you don’t know what Matilda is about (where have you BEEN?), it follows a rather extraordinary little girl who is thoroughly under-appreciated by her family. Matilda is extraordinary as she is highly intelligent, teaches herself to read before she goes to school, can multiply huge sums in her head and once she has exhausted everything in the children’s section of the library, she starts on all the adult books with the help of Mrs Phelps, the kind (yet astounded) librarian. Matilda does eventually go to school like a normal child and her teacher, Miss Honey realises quite quickly how bright she is and gives her more advanced books to study whilst the rest of the children learn their ABC’s. There is a dark side to this narrative however and this is the dreaded headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, who terrorises the school, especially young children like Matilda who she has a particular distaste for. However, clever Matilda has more than a few tricks up her sleeve to deal with such a deadly adversary and revenge is certainly sweet indeed for anyone who has ever been unlucky enough to be frightened by The Trunchbull.

Ahhh, this book is everything. It was perfect for a bookish child like myself who delighted in a female protagonist that was intelligent yet gentle and managed to get her own back on the people who wronged her in the most hilarious way. It was also perfect for the bookish adult that I have become who still champions a quirky female heroine who will always hold a special place in my heart. It was such a nostalgic, beautiful reading experience that made me hug the book to my chest within just a few pages at the sheer remembrance of how fantastic the story and the characters are. Roald Dahl has a real quality to his writing that can enable the reader to imagine particular scenes so vividly and there’s still those scenes for me, like The Trunchbull throwing Amanda Thripp round and round in a hammer throw that I pictured as a child and funnily enough, still have the same picture in my head as an adult, completely before the film came into fruition. Now that I’ve been reminded how awesome Roald Dahl is, I can’t wait to re-read more of his work so that I can re-discover that same magic that captivated me as a child and still continues to enchant me today.

For Chrissi’s fabulous review, please see her blog HERE.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):


COMING UP IN MARCH ON BETH AND CHRISSI DO KID-LIT: The Girl Of Ink And Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave.

26 comments on “Beth And Chrissi Do Kid-Lit 2018 – FEBRUARY READ – Matilda by Roald Dahl

  • Aww, you’re right, this book IS EVERYTHING!! I loved Dahl as a kid, (was lucky enough to meet him as he did a school assembly one morning during bookweek, circa 1986!!) and still appreciate his stories decades later! Recently re-read The Twits, which was hilarious! 😂 I loved reading your post, it gave me so many aaaah moments! 😍

  • Matilda is the best!! I just read this with my 7 yr old in January and she loved, loved it! And that reminded me of how much I loved it and all Dahl’s books, so now we’re reading them all! Matilda is my favorite though and such a treasure! ❤❤❤

    • Oh that’s lovely Steph! 😍 it’s so nice that our next generation is still loving his work, just shows how timeless it is! I honestly can’t pick my favourite between this, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The BFG and The Witches. Can I pick them all?! 😂

      • Yes, you can pick them all!! It really is wonderful how timeless his books are. But she loved The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe too, so I think it’s just the quality and magic of those books that make them timeless. Dahl cracks me up though. Some of his humor!! We were reading The Witches last night and I couldn’t stop laughing at the Grand High Witch yelling “vitches” all the time instead of witches because it soooo sounded like a bad word, hahaha!! I’m such a child 😂🤣

      • No! I completely forgot the made a film until my husband said something the other day! I’ll have to watch it. She’s a fantastic actress.

      • That’s what Eric said…he thinks it will scare her. Not at all like Matilda or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory! Thanks for telling me that too! He can be overly protective.

  • Aww Beth you’ve just brought back great memories of reading Matilda and a whole raft of other Roald Dahl books to my daughter at bedtime – she’s in her twenties now. We also went to the Roald Dahl museum in Buckinghamshire which was great fun, I don’t know if it’s still there. We also loved the Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton which I read as a child and then read to her. Love how books and stories carry on through the generations. Thanks for the reminder Beth x

    • Aw thank you so much, what a lovely comment! I’d love to visit the Roald Dahl museum, I’ve heard great things about it. I adored Malory Towers and St Clare’s too but am not a big fan of the “new” covers unfortunately! 😕 have you seen them? Xx

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