Parents' Guide to

Matilda

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 8+

Kid genius gets revenge on mean adults in fun fantasy.

Book Roald Dahl Fantasy 2005
Matilda Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 19 parent reviews

age 6+

Kids are smarter than reviewers are giving them credit for...

Is this book dark? Yes. Is it a bit scary? Yes. Is it for everyone? No. However, no book is for everyone, and some reviewers on here are making it sound as if this book is a manifesto for children to be horrid and immoral. It is NOT. Matilda is a little girl who is a genius and has an evil headmistress and horrid parents who if real would be abusive (they leave her alone at home, call her names, set a bad example, etc.). However, Matilda does not let this stop her. A lot of people are saying Matilda only is saved by her powers. In the end, she overcomes a final obstacle by her powers. But, she uses her own cleverness and strength to overcome obstacles before then. She glues her fathers hat to his hair, scares her parents into thinking a talking parrot is a ghost, encourages and supports a classmate who is being bullied by their headmistress, and helps her teacher find strength. Matilda is not a cheery, happy Disney strong, but it is so much better because it helps children learn that, even though the world can be very dark and scary, there can be light by looking to strength inside. Children know magic is not real. Children know there is darkness in the world because they see it even from a young age, but I think this book provides a fun and cool way to teach them about how to find power and strength within themselves. Roald Dahl is known for being quite dark, but I like his writing because it knows how smart and clever children are. That is why I love the fact Matilda is 5 and reading Charles Dickens. Kids today need that.
age 7+

Let's read Matilda! Little girl has powers!

The book is about a girl that is very smart and she has magic power. She can move things with her eyes! I liked Matilda because she is smart and she used her magic powers to scare away the mean principal, Ms. Trunchbull. One thing I didn't like was when the principal yelled at Matilda when Matilda didn't do anything. My favorite part of the book was when the principal was never to be seen again.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (19 ):
Kids say (77 ):

This classic book has been delighting kids and their parents since 1988, appealing both to readers' imaginations and to their sense of justice. The good in Matilda are all good, and the wicked get their comeuppance at the hands of giddy, delighted children. Precocious readers, like Matilda, will recognize in this novel's villainous characters some of the same qualities that define the bad children in what is probably author Roald Dahl's most famous work, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Mean characters exhibit gluttony and greed, watch too much television, and cheat to get what they want. Good characters are lovable, smart, and triumphant. Matilda is a wonderful romp -- a great read-aloud for young children, and a mild challenge for middle graders to read themselves. Either way, it's tons of fun and immensely satisfying.

Book Details

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