The book was good, but Roald Dahl has a certain nastiness that I would have appreciated as a young child who felt abused by the world but that I can't appreciate as an adult who has gotten over those issues.
I read this for myself because sometimes I get tired of the depressing genre in adult books. However, if I had a child, while I would allow them to read this book--I would probably discuss some things with them to make sure they understand that some of the things in the book are inappropriate. For instance, in the book, Matilda shoves a parrot up a chimney to play a prank on her parents. Aside from her being disrespectful of her friend's property (the bird belonged to her friend), this would be out right animal cruelty that could result in an animal being harmed, or at the very least distressed.