Matilda by Roald Dahl
Best for: Kids. Adults. Humans. Other.
In a nutshell: Very smart young woman Matilda uses her mind to fight back against those who treat her — and the people she cares about — poorly.
Line that sticks with me: “Of course you looked! You must have looked! No one in the world could give the right answer just like that, especially a girl! You’re a little cheat, madam, that’s what you are! A cheat and a liar!”
Why I chose it: As part of our library’s summer reading challenge, one of the BINGO squares is a book recommended by a young person. My eight-year-old niece recommended this one.
Review: I don’t think I’ve ever read a Roald Dahl book. I know, I know. No James and the Giant Peach, no BFG. I first heard about Matilda through Mara Wilson’s (grown-up) writing a few years back, since she played her in the film. So I had a very basic understanding of the book’s plot, but not much more than that.
I started it at lunch and didn’t put it down until I was done. I loved how smart and kind and capable Matilda is. I loved that she uses her brain to help people, but also that she isn’t so absurdly wise beyond her years that you don’t believe she’s only five. And I loved that it showed sometimes adults are wrong and sometimes adults are right. That you kids should speak up for themselves.
I do have to say … as lovely as Miss Honey is, she and all the other adults at the school really were completely failing at protecting those children from Miss Trunchbull. I don’t care how intimidated you are by your boss, if she treats kids that way you do something about it. Yikes.