Matilda by Roald Dahl Review

Illustrated by Quentin Blake


Children’s stories should be fun to read. And what could be more fun to read than a story that features a child getting one over on the adults in their life? Especially one written by the master storyteller Roald Dahl. A story so good that it has been turned into a couple of movies and a stage show. What is this story? It’s Matilda of course!

Matilda was first published in 1988 and the last long children’s chapter book written by Dahl before his death in 1990. A fun story that celebrates the power of books, learning, and creativity as well as courage, bravery and doing what’s right. A story that continues to delight audiences still to this day.

Matilda Wormwood is brilliant and extra-ordinary with a quick and nimble mind and an intelligence beyond her years. By the age of three she had taught herself to read. At four she would take herself down to the local library to devour book after book, finishing the children’s section and moving on to more grown up books by authors such as Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, Jane Austen, Rudyard Kipling, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell and lots of others. Although the reading of books was not encouraged in her house, watching television was king.

But Mr and Mrs Wormwood are not the greatest of parents, they show no interest in their children – especially Matilda, she was viewed as an unwanted annoyance. Mr Wormwood is a dishonest used car salesman and Mrs Wormwood goes out every afternoon to play bingo, leaving Matilda on her own. Mr and Mrs Wormwood are just ignorant and cruel.

When she starts at the local primary school (she started late as her parents forgot to arrange it), she meets the lovely Miss Honey, who sees the potential in Matilda and does everything she can to try and help her. But the school is ruled by the tyrannical headmistress Miss Trunchbull so extra help is not forthcoming for the young Matilda.

Matilda has had enough of the bullying, meanness and dishonest acts by her parents so decides to get her own back on them each time they do something she doesn’t like. This happens in the form of pranks such as superglue inside Mr Wormwoods favourite hat which gets stuck to his head, a talking parrot up the chimney to make her family think that the house is haunted by a ghost and hair dye in her father’s hair wax.

But it’s at school when things really start to happen when Matilda discovers that she can move things with the power of her mind and her eyes! With these new powers she helps her favourite teacher, Miss Honey, solve her financial problems and get revenge on the wicked Miss Trunchball.

Overall, I absolutely loved reading Matilda by Roald Dahl! It is a wonderful story about a brilliantly intelligent little girl who loves to read and learn but also hates injustice and uses her mind and ability to at first get her own back on her parents but then to put them to good use to help someone in a dire situation – which helps improve her own life too!

Matilda is a hilarious and heart-warming book that celebrates the power of books, learning, creativity and good over evil. It also shows how children can stand up for themselves and their friends, and how they can make a difference in the world. This is a story where readers will be rooting for the young Matilda on every page.

The characters are vivid and memorable, especially the villains, who are exaggerated and comical. Miss Trunchball picks up kids by their pigtails, swings them around and throws them like the hammer in her favourite sport. Then there are characters with some excellent names, such as Bruce Bogtrotter. The illustrations by Quentin Blake are also fantastic, they add to the charm and humour of the story and portray perfectly what is happening in the story.

The story is fun to read. It starts Dahl describing how he would write end of term school reports which are hilarious. Kids are described as little blisters and lots more horrible names by the evil Miss Trunchball. But Matilda gets revenge for everybody, and it has a happy ending.

I highly recommend Matilda to anyone who loves reading, it’s wicked fun – Roald Dahl at his best. Matilda is a book that will leaving you laughing and cheering Matilda on. Whilst it has themes of bullying and neglect, it is ultimately a story of courage, resilience, bravery, and the importance of standing up for what is right.

If children’s books should be fun to read, then you can’t go wrong with Matilda.

Rating: 5/5

RRP: £12.99 (Hardback) / £7.99 (Paperback) / £3.99 (Kindle)

For more information, visit Available to buy from Amazon here.

DISCLOSURE: All thoughts and opinions are my own. This review uses an affiliate link which I may receive a small commission from if you purchase through the link.

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