4-star · Book Reviews

Book Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

Title: Matilda
Author: Roald Dahl
PubDate: June 1, 1998
Page count: 240

“The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”

I’ve missed a lot of good books when I was younger and now I’m trying to catch up on everything! One is Matilda and I really enjoyed this one. What a brilliant and mischievous girl Matilda is!

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 a fun read this book was and I loved Matilda! She’s clever and despite having nasty parents, she grew up to be a wonderful child. She loves to read, she’s smart and she doesn’t tolerate injustices! At age five she’s read a lot of books and she’s got a beautiful heart. Though she can be vengeful at times. Haha.

Matilda said, “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”

Matilda’s story is somewhat sad, having self-centered parents who don’t encourage reading because why would you if you have the telly? Thankfully she’s intelligent and patient and she has her books to keep her company. And of course she has Ms. Honey, her kind and sweet teacher. While I loved Matilda and Ms. Honey, I hated Matilda’s parents and Ms. Trunchbull!! Grr. They are the spiteful grown-ups most children fear, the kind of adult who crushes children’s dreams. They are evil but I liked that Matilda has ways of getting even with them. That said, it was a fun and great book! 🙂


9 thoughts on “Book Review: Matilda by Roald Dahl

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