Helping you find the best books to read


February 4, 2018
Matilda cover
Published: 6/1/1998
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")…

Matilda is a whimsical, endearing treasure. If this book were a person it would be your best friend. The story is just simply lovable, as quirky and as comfortable as that old pair of slippers you love to lounge around the house in on Saturday mornings.

The story centers around a precocious little girl name Matilda. Though born to shallow, self-centered parents who could care less about her, Matilda quickly blossoms into a child genius. She teaches herself to read and knows how to do difficult math inside her head, all that before the age of five. When she finally goes off to school her abilities, along with her troubles, increase exponentially as she is pitted against one of the most formidable villains in all of literature, Ms. Trunchbull.

Combining the pathos of Attila the Hunn with the fieriness of a wolverine on locoweed, this school headmistress is a terror to child and teacher alike. Her disciplinary measures are just short of the level of a concentration camp and are so exaggeratedly horrific that they come off comical. And that is really the main course offered here, a great romping good time. Dahl is out to have fun and his clever prose and quick wit are on display on every page. This is a classic, pure and simple. No, it’s not on the level of a Dickens or Doesoyevsky, but as a children’s book this is one of the best ever written. If you pick up this tale be prepared for page-turning fun in one of the silliest and sweetest stories around.

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