Matilda by Roald Dahl
Genre: Humorous School Fiction
Publication Date: 1988 by the Penguin Group
Recommended Age Group: 10 and Up
Summary: Matilda was a genius child who taught herself to read by the age of three. She learned by studying newspapers and magazines around the house. Then she discovered the local library and read all of the books there. When she started school she encountered “The Trunchbull.” This was the headmistress of the school who was more horrible than anyone could imagine. Matilda, bored in her classes because she was so much more advanced than the other students, learned how to move things with her mind. She eventually devised and carried out a plan that scared the Trunchbull off and restored her school and her teacher to previously known respectable standing.
Personal Notes: This books has many great points, some of which include: the way it encourages young people to read by creating a heroine who enjoys doing just that and how it teaches us that nothing is hopeless and we should look out for others who are less fortunate or who have fewer abilities than we do. I remember a teacher in sixth grade who would read to the class as we all gathered round. After each days reading we would talk about what we read, the good and the bad points. I think that would be a marvelous way to teach this book to others. Speaking of bad points, it is interesting that she takes matters into her own hands so to speak. She thinks she has the right to punish parents or elders for things that she perceives that they do wrong. I do not think that this is a good thing to impress upon children. Thus while teaching this book we should also teach the children about what they can and cannot do when they feel they are wronged by grown ups while making sure they if they do seriously have a problem that we will be there to come to their aid.