by Roald Dahl

Paperback, 1998


Checked out
Due Feb 29, 2024

Local notes

PB Dah




Puffin (1998), Edition: Later Printing, 240 pages


Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security.


Original language


Original publication date

1988 (1e édition originale anglaise)
1989 (1e traduction et édition française)

Physical description

240 p.; 5.08 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member atimco
Roald Dahl's Matilda is one of those books I read so much as a child that even now I still have bits and pieces memorized. I listened to this on audiobook, read by Ron Keith, and sometimes I would know the next word he was going say before he said it. Yes, Dahl was an author who loomed large in my
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childhood reading fare. Matilda, the brilliant daughter of two very uninterested parents, is a prodigy whose frustrated intelligence expresses itself in a most unexpected and almost miraculous way one day in the classroom. It's a wonderfully fun story.

And so it was a little disturbing to recognize some of its themes as less than wholesome. I know it's necessary to the plot that Matilda's main authority figures, her parents and Miss Trunchbull, be completely selfish, bullying creatures who not only fail to recognize her brilliance, but also treat her abusively. You could argue that there is a good representation of adulthood in the sweet Miss Honey, but somehow she pales next to the more strongly written villains. And Miss Honey never really seems like an adult; at the end she and Matilda speak to one another "as equals."

This picture of dastardly adults would almost make me hesitate to hand the book to young readers, except that I read it frequently as a child and didn't seem to imbibe its message. Of course it depends on the child, but most can distinguish between fiction and reality. And Miss Trunchbull and the Wormwoods are so outrageously, extravagantly fictional.

I do love how Dahl works in his favorite authors and even a bit of Romantic poetry. I have read most of the titles Matilda devours in the course of the story, and this sort of name-dropping is the fun kind. But I disagree heartily with Matilda on one point, that C. S. Lewis doesn't have any "funny bits" in his stories. I think Lewis is brilliantly humorous, but it isn't the ridiculous hilarity of Dahl and apparently he wasn't able to appreciate Lewis's more subtle jokes.

This is a quick listen, much shorter than I remember, and I enjoyed it very much. Though I can dissect Dahl's themes with a little more insight now, I am still able to savor the spell he works in his fiction. Classic.
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LibraryThing member Foxen
What a delightful story! Matilda is a precocious, appealing child in a world dominated by nastily grumpish adults whom she defeats with fairy-tale justice at its best. I suspect that Harry Potter's situation with the Dursley's is based not a little bit on Matilda, or at least her particular
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manifestation of the Cinderella scenario. That makes it sound unoriginal, but it's not. The word I keep coming back to is 'delightful'. It is a charming story full of charming characters. Even the nasty characters are nasty in an exaggerated big bad wolf sort of way that makes them very entertaining (and makes their come-uppance quite satisfying). Read it. It's marvelous.
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LibraryThing member BolstlerJ
Matilda by Roald Dahl with illustrations by Quentin Blake is the winner of the Federation of Children's Book Groups Award (UK 1988) and was voted "Nation's Favorite Children's Book" in BBC Bookworm Poll (UK 1998).

Matilda is an extremely gifted young girl; before she even starts school she has
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taught herself to read. Her crooked parents dote on Matilda's average older brother while paying less than no attention to Matilda. But this is not a girl to be pitied. Even though she can't barely reach the kitchen counter, Matilda decides that the best way to deal with the borderline abuse heaped upon her by her parents is to teach them a lesson. She bleaches her fathers hair - his pride and joy, she convinces her family that their house is haunted. These skills come in handy when Matilda starts school and has to deal with the worst enemy of them all: The Trunchbull. Best of all, while Matilda is stuck in her first grade classroom being ridiculed by the evil Miss Trunchbull, Matilda finds her most extraordinary gift of all.

Matilda is classic Roald Dahl. Dahl is the master of writing for and about children without being condescending or forgetting what it's like to be a child, and writes in a style that all ages can enjoy. Quentin Blake's has illustrated throughout Dahl's works and, though deceptively simplistic, always add to the story and inspire giggles. Matilda shows the world what one person can do despite all odds, and is told in a way that will entertain its reader.
For ages 6 and up, but delightful for all ages!
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LibraryThing member bestwhensimple
Roald Dahl is my favorite children's book author for many reasons, namely Matilda. Dahl crafted a magical story about an ignored child who manages to use her mind (literally!) to get herself out of a horrible familial situation. In the process, she helps out Miss Honey and triumphs over The
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I appreciate Dahl's wry sense of humor, although some criticisms have been directed towards his "disgusting" descriptions. As a child, I loved reading about the kid who had to ingest an entire cake despite the fact that he felt like "a sackful of wet cement." Another memorable scene is of a newt swimming in The Trunchbull's water-jug. Dahl's storytelling talent lies in his ability to describe things that a child can relate to. When paired with Quentin Blake's playful watercolor and ink illustrations, Dahl's craft draws its readers into the storyworld of Matilda.

I also greatly value a narrative about the power and agency of children. Once the children are in Matilda's world, they live through her and see that they too have some agency in the world. This empowerment lasts after the final page is read. This is the power of Dahl's memorable story.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
This book is bright, clever, insightful and downright delightful, and I'm inspired to read more of Roald Dahl's books after enjoying this one so much.

Matilda is a genius, not the "ordinary" kind, but one who can read newspapers and magazines by the age of three, who can read Dickens at the age of
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four and who can multiply large sums spontaneously by the age of five.

She is lives in a house with terrible, neglectful orge-like parents who squelch her anytime they can.

Imp-like Matilda has a magical way of finding solace in good people and of getting revenge on those who are the bad ones.

Enter a cast of characters whom Dahl gives clever names connotating their nice or not-so-nice personalities.
The parents are the "Wormwoods"
The nasty teacher is "Trunchbull"

The nice people have soft names.
The librarian who encourages Matilda is
"Mrs. Phelps"
The wonderful teacher who mentors her is
"Miss. "Honey."

Dahl's takes us inside the classroom setting where, just as at home, Matilda experiences the same mean spirited, rotten behavior in the form of the head mistress Trunchbull. And, just as she does at home, she uses her sharp wit to conquer evil. The cast of characters with lively cartoon-like names -- Julius Rottwinkle,Amanda Thripp, Bruce Bostrotter and Nigel Hicks -- watch in awe and wonder.
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LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
Matilda was one of my favorite books as a kid and I've loved rediscovering it through the audio recording. I forgot just how good it is! Matilda is a spunky first-grader, proving that you don't need to be able to reach the kitchen cabinets to start standing up to The Man. The partially voiced
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narration by Joely Richardson was lovely. Highly recommended for car trips with the family - everyone will love the indomitable Matilda.
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LibraryThing member bexaplex
Dahl brings to life the fantasy of any small book-reader: triumph over awful people, the love and attention of an adult, and something to keep one's brain occupied. This is my favorite Roald Dahl.
LibraryThing member ctmsanvu
The book Matilda is a very great book, it has a lot of action and it is very interesting. The main character of the book is Matilda and she is a five year girl who is very smart. Matilda knows all of he times tables and she also knows how to read. Matilda is put ia a kindergarden class with other
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five year olds. Ms. Honey, her teacher is like her best friend and is very nice to her. Ms. Trunchbull is the principal and she is very mean to everyone, she even hurts students during school. Matilda's dad is a car dealer who likes to rip people off and hates Matilda reading books, he even rips the book if he sees Matilda reading. Matilda also has magical powers, she can push items over or even lift them up. Matilda finds out that Ms. Honey is Ms. Trunchbull's niece. With this information Matilda is going to pull a prank on Ms. Trunchbull that is going to get her to give Ms. Honey her house back. Will the prank work or will it fail, will Matilda get introuble?

I give the book Matilda ***** because it is very interesting. The book Matilda is very interesting because there is a lot of action going on and there is always something new hapening. The book also has a lot of pictures, which makes it easier to understand what is hapening in the book. I also like how the author made the character Matilda a smart and young girl with mean parents and a mean principal. I think this book is great for children because there are pictures and it is very easy to understand. The book Matilda is great, I believe that anyone who reads this book will like it. There is also nothing wrong with Roald Dahl's writing, there are only good things about his writing. Like the vocabulary is not hard to understand. Roald Dahl is a really great author. I hope to read another one of his books soon.
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LibraryThing member aethercowboy
Matilda, by Roald Dahl, tells the story of an under-appreciated genius named Matilda, who lives with her very stupid family. She teaches herself to read, and devours the children’s section of the library and moves on to more classics before even starting school. When she gets to school, she is
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deemed exceptional by her teacher, but by pretty much nobody else.

This book was lengthy for a Dahl book, and that’s partly because it has a lot of stuff in it. There is a great deal of conflict that Matilda faces, as well as conflict witnessed by her. She is at constant war with her parents who insist on being shallow and shady, preferring to spend their time in front of a television than in a good book; her mother obsessed with the looks she simply doesn’t have; her father making a living selling used cars a la any used car salesman stereotype. She also faces conflict at school from the notorious school headmistress: Miss Trunchbull, a disciplinarian so frightening and so unorthodox that the parents wouldn’t even believe their children’s complaints were their children not so terrified of saying anything.

However, for as lengthy as the book was, I had some issues with it. When Matilda eventually discovers that she has telekinesis, most of the book has already gone past. It seems like an afterthought, as it is not foreshadowed or alluded to at all until it happens, and does not happen close enough to the beginning of the book to seem like it was truly planned. The second big issue was the ending, which, introduces a new 8-point story arc in what should properly be an epilogue, or, at least, a denouement.

All in all, though, the story’s strengths outweighed its weaknesses, filled with humor, quirkiness, and a heroine to whom any under-appreciated genius could totally relate.
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LibraryThing member koalamom
I loved it and wish I had gotten to it sooner but I wasn't reading kids books at that time and my kids were in high school.

It is so full of whimsy and fun and really brings back "fond" memories of that one teacher that you wished ill of.

I was so glad that Matilda found someone who really understood
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LibraryThing member Aldrea_Alien
I've only ever seen the movie before now, so when I found this in the secondhand shop I simply had to grab it. The movie really didn't do it justice.
Dahl's descriptions are wonderful, especially when it gets to point where Matilda uses her 'strong eyes' to push over the newt-filled glass.

I think
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I'll keep this one on my shelf for when my daughter's old enough to read it. Then we can love it together.
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LibraryThing member Smiler69
"By the age of one and half her speech was perfect, and she knew as many words as most grownups. The parents, instead of applauding her, called her a noisy chatterbox and told her sharply that small girls should be seen and not heard. By the time she was three, Matilda had taught herself to read by
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studying newspapers and magazines that lay around the house. At the age of four, she could read fast and well and she naturally began hankering after books. The only book in the whole of this enlightened household was something called Easy Cooking belonging to her mother, and when she had read this from cover to cover and had learned all the recipes by heart, she decided she wanted something more interesting..."

When she asks her father to buy her a book, he replies "What's wrong with the telly for heaven's sake! You're getting spoiled my girl!". So while her mother leaves her alone in the house for her daily dose of bingo, Matilda, age four and three months, decides to take herself to the public library where she asks the librarian for good books that are written for adults. Within six months, Matilda reads the following: Nicholas Nickelby and Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Tess of the d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, Gone to Earth by Mary Webb Kim by Rudyard Kipling, The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells, The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway, The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner, The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, The Good Companions by J. B. Priestley, Brighton Rock by Graham Greene and Animal Farm by George Orwell. Then Matilda goes to her first day at school and meets her teacher Miss Honey, which is when the story really begins...

A wonderful story by Roald Dahl which makes fun of ignorant and cruel adults, and celebrates the love of books and knowledge. Much recommended.

As regards the audio version, I must say I was unimpressed with Joely Richardson's delivery, which was on the whole flat and colourless. Surprising considering she's a well known actress. Any parent can do as good a job or better reading to their children themselves, unless the children are of reading age, in which case they should be reading from the book anyway!
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LibraryThing member BugsyBoog
A fun story that has an excellent movie. Dahl’s clipped, short sentences make reading easy but he adds details at every turn for a very vivid story. I loved the style of writing. Matilda is a precocious little 5 year old who is incredibly intelligent. Unfortunately, her parents are complete
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idiots. Her father, a used car salesman, is a crook who condemns Matilda’s actions at every turn. Her mother plays bingo every night and could care less about her kid. So, Matilda teachers herself to read and spends her afternoons at the library. When she starts school, her sweet teacher, Miss Honey, immediately recognizes her talents and asks for Matilda to be moved up. The head master, Ms. Trunchbull, refuses. Ms. Trunchbull, refuses. Ms. Trunchbull is larger than life and bullies the students and faculty around her. One day, Matilda’s anger towards the strict disciplinarian comes out in a surprising way. A very cute, funny story with memorable characters.
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LibraryThing member Jpeshke
"Matilda" is a book that all ages can enjoy. I have read this story to second graders and tenth graders and they have all loved it. The humor is wonderful. Dahl's imagination is boundless and this book brings this fact to life. I feel that the idea that some adults look down on children, thinking
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they are small and stupid, is something that many children can understand. But Matilda overcomes these bad adults in her life and shows how other children can feel happy with who they are!
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LibraryThing member bojanfurst
I really, really liked Matilda. For all his quirkiness and strangeness, Dahl managed to deal with very difficult subject matter in a respectful and engaging manner. It's a great read out loud book that will prompt open and good conversation with your children.
LibraryThing member miyurose
I missed this book the first time around because I was 10 when it was published and I was a bit precocious and never one to read at my grade level. I wish I hadn’t missed it! I’m a big Lemony Snicket fan, and it’s easy to see that he’s been influenced by Dahl. This is a little dark and
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violent, but quite enjoyable. Unfortunately, I enjoyed it more *before* Matilda develops her magical powers, when she was just a really smart child - though Miss Honey’s explanation at the end mitigates some of that. I’m looking forward to reading some more of Dahl’s works.
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LibraryThing member nosajeel
I absolutely loved reading Matilda to my children--and they loved it too. A lot of books are called Dickensian just because they are set in Victorian England, depict poverty, or have complicated plots with lots of characters. But Matilda is truely Dickensian in capturing the spirit of Dickens--a
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precocious young child protagonist (precocious being an understatement) surrounded by adults who range from completely awful to sickly/saintly/helplessly sweet who fights injustice and ends up with the bad being exposed and the good rewarded--including twists involving forged last wills and testaments. In fact this echo of Dickens was clearly intentional as Matilda reads several Dickens books over the course of this one and there are multiple references including to Wackford Squeers from Nicholas Nickleby (clearly the model for Miss Trunchbull in Matilda) as well as to Great Expectations and Oliver Twist.

Matilda, in fact, is such a wonderful character--so delightfully described as well as drawn in the illustrations--that you really wish she existed as much as you wish any character from literature to exist. The plot is relatively light and simple but it has a few twists and is about as much as my 5 and 6 year olds could follow.

If I had any complaints about this book, like other Roald Dahl, it is that in his world the children never change but instead are born and stay either good or rotten. That omits and important development that keeps literature (including Dickens, especially in his later books) interesting and also, as much as I think this is not what books are primarily about, misses out an what could be an important lesson.
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LibraryThing member kdebros
An intelligent girl with a horrible family takes control when she realizes that she has telepathic powers, and a sympathetic teacher.
LibraryThing member NateS
Matilda is a very interesting book. It gives the reader a good description of who Matilda is, and what there parents do. The things she does are very cool and Magical. I would highly recomend this book
LibraryThing member Justjenniferreading
I read this book when I was in 4th grade and I loved it then.

Anytime I feel down or upset I will pick it up and read some of it. So I've probably only read the book cover to cover 10 or so times but it's probably my favorite story ever. I;ve read parts of it so much that my copy is falling apart.
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Scotch tape works wonders....

I find it hard to critique this book as it is one of my favorites and when I read it I just get lost in the story. I think that being it's one of the books that has stayed with me from childhood I have a very special bond with the characters in this book.
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LibraryThing member kscarlett01
This is a great story about how a brilliant, fun young girl grows up in a home not so appreciative of her uniqueness. She attends a strict school where her uniqueness also goes unappreciated. The young girl is befriended by a young teacher at the school and is taught that she is truly special, even
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though some people belittle her for being unique. This is an amazing book for young children to foster individuality.
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LibraryThing member stephmo
Matilda is everything that Roald Dahl is good at - a story about a child making the most of a dire situation. Matilda is super-intelligent, not that her parents care, take notice or would even take a moment to be proud. The entire school is under the tyrannical rule of Miss Trunchbull, a
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headmistress that has learned the art of the human hammer throw with small children that cross her path.

Despite all of this, Matilda remains positive and downright happy in what she's got. After all, she has the library, a great teacher and new friends and small triumphs - what more does one need? Of course, there is more to the story, but that's part of Dahl's special bit of whimsy and magic...
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LibraryThing member chron002
Best for children eight and up. Such a wonderful book, very cute, funny, and creative. This would be a good book to entertain the children.
LibraryThing member ShannaThomp08
Matilda by Ronald Dahl is a good book that I feel students will enjoy. Even though it is about a fifth grade level book I feel like it will be beneficial to them. The book is a delightful story about how a little girl by the name of Maltida Wormwood who grows up with dumb parents that do not
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appreciate her or care about her. She also has to go to a school that is more like a prison because of the horrible principal that runs like a military camp. Thankful enough Maltida has special powers and a loving teacher named Ms. Honey that helps her overcome everything. In my classroom I would probably use this book to teach lessons on comparing and contrasting the book from the movie. I will also read the book as a read aloud.
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LibraryThing member sturlington
Read aloud to my son after we both saw the musical adaptation.

I missed this Roald Dahl growing up because I was too old when it came out. I can see why this book is such a favorite for so many people who encountered it as children. Matilda is a wonderful character, and the Trunchbull is such a
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terrific villain. It's at the same time a very sweet book and also a bit subversive, with many of the adults being so horrible and Matilda getting the better of them. It's also a beautiful homage to the power of reading and the great difference caring librarians and teachers can make in children's lives. I really enjoyed reading it even at this late date, and my son loved it too.
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