Matilda by Roald Dahl

cover image

Ill. by Quentin Blake. Puffin. 2015. ISBN 9780141341248
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Family Life, Good and Evil, Telekenisis, School. Roald Dahl's Matilda has been brought to life on the stage. All the well known characters are there, the all singing, all dancing the naughty students of the Crunchem Hall Primary School, Miss Trunchbull the intimidating headmistress, caring young teacher Miss Honey, magical Matilda and the self-centred Wormwood family. This edition of the much-loved story has been released as a tie-in to the musical.
First published in 1986, Roald Dahl's much-loved story delivers all the expected elements to a new audience. Matilda is a special child left to fend for herself by her dodgy car salesman father and bingo-playing mother. At an early age, she teaches herself to read and at four and a half, she walks through town to the library where she is introduced to Dickens and Kipling and develops a love of literature. She also enjoys little acts of revenge, one memorable scene is the hair dye incident, adding her mother's blonde colour to her father's dark hair dye bottle.
The school scenes are Dahl at his best, his characters are larger than life, Miss Trunchbull's punishments are frightening. Matilda's intelligence and sense of justice is nurtured by her young teacher Miss Honey. She finally has someone who loves and appreciates her character.
Children love the exaggerated humour, the silliness, the fight of good and evil, the over-the-top characters. Quentin Blake's illustrations add to the drama of this junior novel.
Recommended for readers over 8.
Rhyllis Bignell