Oh, Matilda. This was my first-ever Dahl book, and in fact the only one I’d read until reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this January. Good thing I bought that boxed set, so I can catch up!
Anyway, I read this in fifth grade as part of the not-yet-awesome Project Plus gifted program in my elementary school, and it was pretty much the greatest thing we did all year, or at least the most memorable. What smart 11-year-old doesn’t wish for super powers beyond just being good at math and reading? Not me, that’s for sure. I tried for weeks to move pencils and whatnot off of desks before realizing that my life wasn’t quite crappy enough for making magic happen.
If you haven’t read Matilda, I highly recommend it — it’s the story of an incredibly precocious girl whose parents couldn’t care less about her, who ends up at a school with a terrible headmistress but a wonderful teacher who helps Matilda realize her potential, both in school and in a bit of magic.
Of course, if you have kids of your own you might want to keep this out of their hands for a while, because Matilda isn’t a little angel… she is very good at exacting revenge on those who make life difficult for her. At the very least, make sure that your peroxide and superglue are well hidden for several months after any nearby children read this book!
Recommendation: Excellent for precocious children, or former precocious children, or people who like to read about precocious children. Now precocious doesn’t look like a word anymore.
Pass me yours, if you’ve got ’em.