It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers.
Today is all about a book that unites and excites book lovers universally, Matilda. Growing up, I had found an affinity with this little girl and her need to consume the written word, though I was a little behind her – not quite able to read the newspaper at three! Matilda is a fabulous book, a book lovers’ book, and I have also been kept spellbound by this marvellous little girl.
Matilda Wormwood is very special. Reading fluently by the age of four, you’d think she’d be the pride of every parent and yet she’s considered to be nothing more than a nuisance by her own. Fed up, Matilda counts down the days until she can escape her parent’s ignorance and enter school but little does she know she’ll face her biggest adversary yet – the Trunchbull! It will take a superhuman effort to bring this tyrannical woman to her knees but is Matilda the one to do it?
In Matilda Dahl shows that size is irrelevant to power – that even the smallest child can make the biggest impact. Before her kinetic powers kick in, Matilda is still able to best her parents intellectually as well as punish their behaviour with tricks, the hair-dye trick being my favourite! Dahl combines the everyday with the extraordinary by giving Matilda the ability to move things with her mind. Though is this a less fantastical book than his others, Dahl still manages to make the magic believable – oh, how I stared at water glasses when I was little!
The Trunchbull is everything little children first think teachers are when they start school – but worse! Truly one of the baddest baddies, the Trunchbull tortures children on a daily basis, most notably force-feeding Bruce Bogtrotter rich chocolate cake and throwing Amanda Thripp over the fence by her pigtails. Her enormous stature and bullish ways make her the terror of Matilda’s school and children aren’t her only target.
Everyone wanted a teacher like Miss Honey – sweet, patient and thoughtful – she’s every five year-olds dream! But there is a sadness behind her kind eyes that only Matilda sees. Matilda and Miss Honey develop a beautiful bond, both finding in the other what has been missing from their lives.
Rather than humorous (though there is humour), Matilda is one of Dahl’s more heart-warming stories. There is a darkness lurking throughout – of parental neglect, abuse and, more sinisterly, death – but that doesn’t bog down the tale or stop Matilda from being one of Dahl’s most beloved tales and a truly entertaining read.