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Matilda Paperback – August 16, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 7 and up
  • Grade Level: 2 and up
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (August 16, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142410373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142410370
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (680 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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--the big surprise comes when Matilda discovers a new, mysterious facet of her mental dexterity. 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. (Ages 9 to 12) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Matilda is an extraordinarily gifted four-year-old whose parentsa crass, dishonest used-car dealer and a self-centered, blowsy bingo addictregard her as "nothing more than a scab." Life with her beastly parents is bearable only because Matilda teaches herself to read, finds the public library, and discovers literature. Also, Matilda loves using her lively intelligence to perpetrate daring acts of revenge on her father. This pastime she further develops when she enrolls in Crunchem Hall Primary School, whose headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, is "a fierce tyrannical monster . . . ." Adults may cringe at Dahl's excesses in describing the cruel Miss Trunchbull, as well as his reliance on overextended characterization at the expense of plot development. Children, however, with their keenly developed sense of justice, will relish the absolutes of stupidity, greed, evil and might versus intelligence, courage and goodness. They also will sail happily through the contrived, implausible ending. Dahl's phenomenal popularity among children speaks for his breathless storytelling charms; his fans won't be disappointed by Matilda. Blake's droll pen-and-ink sketches extend the exaggerated humor. Ages 9-11.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

I can read books every minute.
Cheh Carmen
I recommend this as a read aloud book because adults will enjoy it just as much as the kids.
Twittbrarian
ROALD DAHL has written many stories, but MATILDA is my favorite!
Joshua D. Yoder

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

89 of 96 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
Originally published in 1988, "Matilda" was one of the last books author Roald Dahl wrote before his death in 1990. Most authors as they age become more cynical and dour. Think of the final writings of Dickens or Twain and how bitter they seemed in their late years. Then look at "Matilda". Here we have a sweet charming little piece of literature about a girl that is both good and interesting. Creating characters that you identify intrinsically with is not only difficult but (in children's books) sometimes near impossible. Reading "Matilda", it becomes clear that Roald Dahl never lost his touch for creating wonderful original characters and situations.

The heroine of this little book also carries its name. Matilda is incredibly intelligent, even as a small child. Living with her boorish parents and oblivious brother, she teaches herself to read from the various magazine and newspapers lying about the house. Her parents are completely indifferent to their only daughter and it is only by playing small tricks on them when they've been particularly nasty that little Matilda is able to keep a hold on her sanity. By age five and a half Matilda has read all the children's books in the library and quite a few of the adult ones as well. On entering school for the first time, our protagonist comes face to face with a very worthy enemy. The Head Teacher, Miss Trunchbull, is the worst kind of dangerous violent adult. It is only through Matilda's cleverness that she is able to come to the aid of her teacher, Miss Honey, and save the school from the Trunchbull's insanity.

As I mentioned before, Matilda is just the nicest kid ever. Intelligent without ever becoming pig-headed. Nice without becomes precious. She's just a swell child all around.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on September 12, 2010
Format: Paperback
I confess -- I love the book "Matilda."

A total fantasy novel lies behind the mask of a British school tale.

Roald Dahl crossed the line into the utterly unbelievable by making his villains so incredibly bad. It's preposterous, and funny. So while this is a book that prominently features bullying, intimidation, horrible insults, and violent mistreatment of children, it isn't scary at all -- instead, it is funny.

It's the vocabulary words and the quality of the writing that get me. Superb.

As a read-aloud mom, who can read it and share the laughs with my family, I love this book. Still, I have to caution parents to pre-read it before you give it to your children. There is over-the-top anger, name-calling, and violence directed at kids -- and the kids take revenge in dangerous and harmful ways. We treat this the same way we treat Tom and Jerry or Sylvester and Tweety bird -- total fantasy. Don't behave like that. Isn't it funny?

Parents are the best judges. Give it a try.

Parent notes: truly awful name-calling, raging adults, parental abandonment, revenge against adults, mixing chemicals for revenge, lots of Forbidden Words, and a nice message in there about practice gets you to your goal.
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39 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Britt Arnhild Lindland on May 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I'm out of the country with my 6 years old daughter for a week. When we travel together we always bring enough reading stuff, and our main book this time is Matilda - a fantastic book about a fantastic girl. I have read all of the Roald Dahl books for my kids several time, Matilda has always been and still is my favorite :-)
Matilda is a small girl with extraordinary talents. Already when she is three years old she starts visiting the local library and reads all the books there, starting with the children's books, keeping on with the world classics. Matilda's parents are very neglective, and refuse to see any of Matilda's talents. But Matilda is a fighter and finds her own very creative and very funny ways to get revenge.
Matilda is a funny book, showing a girls fight for her individuality, in a typical RoaldDahlish way. I love it, and all my kids have loved it as well. My youngest daughter is only six, and should be a little too young for the book. But still the book works perfectly for her. The chapters are quite long, but none of us manage to stop after just one chapter. Being on holiday, we can sleep long in the mornings, and can read for a long time in the evenings.
An extra pluss with the book is all the fantastic recommandations of future books it gives us. Dahl has made a wonderful list of the books Matilda read at the library.
Britt Arnhild Lindland
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Katie Flansburg on January 2, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I think Roald Dahl is the best children's author ever! I'm 20, and I still read his books. Matilda tells the story of a little girl genius. Matilda taught herself to read from the newspapers lying around her house when she was a baby and she practically exhausts the local library's collection before she even begins school. She is an extraordinary child, but she's not just smart. She has a daring vengeful streak... She gets excellent revenge on her father for horrid things he says to her. Once, he even tears up her library book. You really can't help but laugh and cheer for her when she gives the bad guys a dose of their own medicine!
Dahl's gift for inventing extraordinarily horrid characters is exercised beautifully in this story. Matilda's father is a cheating used car dealer, and her mother regularly leaves 4-year-old Matilda home alone all afternoon so that she can play Bingo in the next town. The Headmistress Trunchbull even throws a small girl across the playground by her pigtails! Matilda's parents ignore her, the Headmistress is a holy terror, and Matilda's only comfort is her kind teacher, Miss Honey. After the Headmistress, AKA the Trunchbull, does some particularly horrid things to the students and Miss Honey, Matilda uses her extraordinary brain to take back some of their own...
Like most of Dahl's books, there is an undeniable element of cruelty woven into this story-- but this is the best kind of cruelty! When the good guys win, like they always do in Dahl's books, kids cheer on the fall of the real evil.
Matilda is my favorite Roald Dahl book, but The BFG and The Witches are close runners-up. I highly recommend all of his books!
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