Monday, September 7, 2009

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Meet our title character, Matilda . . . an intelligent little girl who decides to take on her parents and the worst headmistress in history, Miss Trunchbull. She reads and loves to learn. She has a good heart and wants to help those who need it. An absolute genius with special powers to boot . . . both Dahl and Matilda herself!!

I had read Matilda around the same time as a couple of other Dahl books. When reading them so close together, I began to notice a bit of a cranky theme! Characters seem to be crabby and the narrative tended to lean towards bitter . . . HOWEVER, the story itself was never actually negative, so it got me to thinking about the reason behind the sour attitude. Dahl experienced a lot of tragedy in his life. Maybe a lot of it had to do with this. I really do not know. I am just speculating!!

On a more positive note, however, in a recent conversation with one of my favorite bloggers, Kristen at We Be Reading, shared her theory . . . "It's kind of funny that there is so much crankiness in the books ... it's like he's giving kids permission to not always be perky and positive." Interesting, isn't it?!?! It is a good message to give our children. I think in the end, Dahl gives the message of hope . . . but, he does seem to be giving a certain permission that there may be hard times and it is okay to be cranky . . . we all have our bad days. I think that is why I love his books so much! They are so real and they ring of truth and reality.

As in the case of Matilda . . . Her parents are not very nice to her. Her headmistress is a horror who does not even like children. She is different from her peers, making it difficult for her to initially make friends. But, you end up loving the little girl that wins the heart of her favorite teacher with genuine kindness. At the end of the day, she finds her place in the world, feels loved, and exits with content!

Don't forget that September is Roald Dahl month!!! Visit his website for great activities and fun!!


  1. I know it's strange but I've seen the Matilda movie like fifty times but have never read the book. I just find that little girl (Mara Wilson) who plays her SO adorable and I love Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman as her parents!
    I will make it a goal to actually read this book in the next year.

  2. We love Matilda, the movie at our house as well. Roald Dahl does have cranky characters, which makes them real to children and he always makes children the heroes and adults tend to lose, especially "bad" adults.

  3. I first read Matilda aloud to my three daughters, then 6, 8, and 11, five years ago-They were completed fascinated by the story-the oldest one jumped to the end of the book to see what happens-latter we bought the movie-they have watched it many many times-when ever a younger relative visits they suggest that as the movie for them to watch. Everybody is scared of the Truncbull!

    thanks for sharing your thoughts

  4. You and Kristen make an excellent point about Roald Dahl's message in his books. I never really thought of it that way but thinking back to when I read his books as a child, they were kind of comforting in a way...Charlie (choc factory) was really poor, James (giant peach) was an orphan, etc, but they all manage to have amazing adventures

  5. Kristen . . . I don't even know if I've seen the movie all the way through in one sitting now that you mention it!! I'm thinking I need to get it for my son and we can watch it together!!

    Peaceful Reader . . . I love that Dahl makes the kids the heroes or the good guys!! It can be so empowering to them!!

    mel u . . . I definitely have got to get this movie for my son and I now!! :)

    Elena . . . Isn't it amazing once you start to think about it?!? And, without this awesome community, this conversation would have never resulted!! :) Gotta love it!!

  6. Matilda is such a fun movie-I am happy to watch it when ever my daughters want to see it-

  7. Can't wait to see it!! I will come back and let you know what I think once we watch it!!


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