Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews



Roald Dahl
Illustrator:   Quentin Blake 
For ages 8 and up
Penguin, 2004   ISBN: 978-0142402535

Every so often a very remarkable child comes into the world, a child who is not only kind and lovable, but  who is also incredibly intelligent and clever. Matilda Wormwood is such a child. Matilda was able to read by the time she was three, and when she was five she was ploughing her way through all the books in the library, eagerly exploring the joys of Dickens, Kipling, and Hemingway. Matilda has a problem though; Matilda has the most dreadful parents imaginable, parents who never read a book, and who do not care about their sweet little daughter one little bit.

When Matilda starts to go to school she encounters a new problem. The headmistress of her school, Miss Trunchbull, is the most horrible schoolmistress ever put on the planet. Miss Trunchbull hates children, especially the littlest ones, and Matilda soon discovers that there is no good side to the dreadful bully - Miss Trunchbull is bad all the way through. Thankfully, Matilda has a wonderful, caring and very understanding teacher, Miss Honey, who quickly recognizes that Matilda is a very extraordinary little girl. Miss Honey does all she can to help Matilda, and in return Matilda comes up with a unique and delicious plan to help Miss Honey.

This wonderful tale about a child who triumphs over the cruel and stupid adults in her life will delight children. They will laugh at the wonderful ways in which Matilda vents her frustration, and they will certainly find the happy ending most satisfactory. Roald Dahl’s deliciously funny character descriptions and his obvious disapproval of adults who don’t understand children will strike a chord with young and old readers alike.

Quentin Blake’s funny line drawings perfectly capture Matilda’s innocence and the sheer nastiness of her parents and Miss Trunchbull.