Matilda by Roald Dahl

Cover for Matilda by Roald Dahl

what to read, what to read?

Roald Dahl, Matilda. 1994, Recorded Books. ISBN: 0-7887-3450-4, audiobook read by Ron Keith.

Quote: The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She traveled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.

Plot:  Matilda is a brilliant little girl, despite the mean, anti-literate adults around her.  Her parents would rather she just watch TV and stop pestering them for books.  When her big brain gives her telekinetic powers, Matilda uses them to help the one good adult in her life, her teacher Miss Honey.

What I thought: Matilda is a wonderful little book.  The chapters are short and a episodic, the action quick.  It’s also quite funny; Matilda is a whiz at playing tricks on her awful father.  Kids getting  one over on adults is always such a great theme.  It is also great, as a book lover, to read about a little girl who also loves books and learning.

Audience:  the book’s target is kids in grades 2-4, kids under that age would be able to understand the audio version.

Strengths/weaknesses:  Though the choice to have a male narrator when the protagonist and main characters are female is a strange one, Ron Keith is quite good.

Uses:  This book would work well in a classroom for read-aloud time as the chapters are quick.  It could also be used for a single struggling reader, with the text open so that the child can follow along.

Read-alikes: Perhaps Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh or other Dahl like The Witches or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Series of Unfortunate Events books would work for readers on the older end.

Picture pulled from School Library Journal

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