“Matilda” by Roald Dahl is the story about an extraordinarily gifted and humble 5-year-old little girl. Before even entering primary school, she’s read every book in the children’s section in the library and moved on to the likes of Dickens, Steinbeck, and Faulkner.
Matilda’s home life leaves quite a bit to be desired. Her parents are idiotic, crass, dishonest, and self-centered. Because Matilda outwits her parents, she decides to play pranks on them to teach them little lessons every time they are unkind. Once, she super-glues her father’s hat to his head. Another time, she borrows a talking parrot and hides him in the chimney, convincing her family that the house is haunted.
Eventually, Matilda’s lazy parents enroll her in school where she proves to be the top student in her class and strikes up a friendship with her kind teacher, Miss Honey. However, a new set of challenges arises. Miss Trunchbull, the head-mistress is a student’s worst nightmare. She holds an assembly simply to humiliate a little boy by forcing him to devour an entire chocolate cake and, once, Matilda witnessed Miss Trunchbull swinging a little girl around by her pig-tales on the playground!
The big surprise in the story is when Matilda discovers a new facet to channel her astonishing intellect which she uses to aid her beloved teacher against Miss Trenchbull, but I’d hate to ruin the surprise by giving away any spoilers!
How did Charlotte enjoy it?
Despite that the age of recommendation for this book says 8 and up, and Charlotte is only five, she enjoyed “Matilda” immensely. She was in awe of the fact that a 5-year-old girl could be so bright, giggled at the pranks Matilda pulled off, and squealed with delight when the big surprise occurred later in the story.
As a parent, I have to say it was refreshing to read a book where the main character was a strong little girl who didn’t happen to be a princess, fairy, or well… a brat :). Dahl’s imaginative writing captured my interest, and there were many nights we BOTH were interested in reading more than one chapter which made it a fast and fun read!