I decided to reread Roald Dahl’s Matilda so that I could pinpoint what it was that I loved so much about this book when I was younger. So here goes:
Matilda is a know-it-all, but she is so humble about her intelligence that you can’t help but to love her. The unjust situations she finds herself in – being called a cheat for being able to do complex arithmetic in her head, being accused of the newt in the water incident, etc. – make you instantly feel for her. Everyone feels that they have been unjustly accused at some point or another, which makes it all the more easy to relate to these situations in the book. Matilda becomes real. Life is not easy for her, despite her high level of intelligence. She has to make due with what talents she was born with.
The over-exaggerated cruelty of Miss Trunchbull makes you feel like things could be worse while also showing you that no matter how bad things get, you can always find a way to make them better. Despite how cruel and evil Miss Trunchbull is, a young child is still able to best her. If this isn’t inspiring, I don’t know what is. Of course, kids also like things that are over the top. Example: my almost 4-year-old nephew is obsessed with a picture of my cat looking at a computer box. He keeps saying that it is so silly because cats don’t like computer. And so he wants to look at it all the time because it is so silly.
Another thing I love about this book is Roald Dahl’s word choice. He uses words I would be too timid to put in a children’s book out of fear of them not understanding the words. But isn’t that part of why children read? They want to learn knew words. And a book with some big words in it makes you feel like you have accomplished something, like you are a grownup. And in the case of Matilda, big words go perfectly with her character.
If you want an example of a great children’s book or if you are looking for something easy to read that will also lift your spirits and give you hope that things always right themselves in the end, then this is the book for you.