Author: Roald Dahl
Publisher: Puffin Books (Original) Penguin (Audiobook)
Year: 1988 (Original) 2013 (Penguin Audio) 1996 (Movie)
Genre: Children's Chapter Book
Age: JUV 10+
This is my all time favorite book! I have read it cover to cover probably 200 times. This was my first time listening to it on audio & I really loved it. Kate Winslet does a great job telling the story in different voices.
Matilda is a young girl who is born into a family that really doesn't care for her. She has an older brother named Michael & her parents who all live in a small village in England. Matilda is left home everyday at a very young age while her mother goes to a nearby town to play BINGO. Because her parents did not send her to school until much too late she spends her time teaching herself how to read, learning math, & visiting the local public library. Her parents treat her awfully so she also spends her time teaching them lessons, especially her father who is a bad used car salesman.
Once she finally starts school Matilda is in love with it! Her teacher Miss Honey is lovely, kind, & caring. Matilda's best friend Lavender is also very bright & she helps her cope with the oddities that occur frequently at her school.
The school is overseen by an awful headmistress named the Trunchbull. She has a nasty habit of throwing children out of windows, or locking them in a dangerous dark closet called the chokey. She even forces a student to eat an entire chocolate cake while the whole school watches.
It isn't long before Miss Honey confides in Matilda who the Trunchbull really is & Matilda devises a plan to get rid of her forever. By using her new found "power" Matilda is the hero of the story & gets the happy ending she has always wanted & deserved.
Likes: Everything about this story is just amazing! Matilda is a bright & daring young child that is a true hero in our reality. She is able to use her bad situation to her advantage & create a better life for herself.
Matilda's love of the library inspired me from a very young age. I was also a child that frequented the library regularly after school & it gave me a greater sense of who I am today & enriched my life in a way that I can never quite explain much like Matilda.
Roald Dahl uses his very imaginative storytelling to bring the story to life through Matilda's powers & the contrast between good like Miss Honey & evil like the Trunchbull. He also uses humor to enrich the story of Matilda's struggles like when she super glue's her father's hat to his head, or Lavender puts the newt in the Trunchbull's water.
The movie was great as well! I remember seeing it when I was a child, it was very imaginative, funny, & close to the book.
After recently listening to the book on audio I decided to also watch the movie & do a comparison between the two, below are some of the differences I noticed & what I thought about them...
- The setting
- Movie: America
- Book: Britain
- I think this has a lot to do with the ease of shotting the movie in California instead of in England. Over all I think the movie made the story more relatable by it being in America but I would have liked it either way
- Matilda's age
- Movie: Almost 6
- Book: 4ish
- The biggest impact this has on the story is that 6 is usually when your child has been in school/daycare etc for a year or two. This makes it seem like a lot more time has passed in the movie
- The book
- Movie: Moby Dick
- Book: The Red Pony
- This switch much like the setting has to do with the time period & where it takes place
- The fuzz
- Movie: Seen from begining
- Book: Surprise at the end
- The reader should be able to figure out that Matilda's father is a crook in every sense of the word. In the book it is a little bit of a surprise that he is in trouble with the cops, but in the movie you know it's coming because they are outside watching the house from day 1
- The newt
- Movie: Found by a group of kids (Matilda, Lavender, & Bruce)
- Book: Found at Lavender house
- This change doesn't make such difference. In the book it makes Lavender look like she acted alone & it was just her idea & in the movie we see Matilda bonding with her new friends which is nice
- The chokey
- Movie: Matilda ends up in the chokey
- Book: Mentioned but not ever inside
- The chokey is terrifying! Seeing it in the movie makes your skin crawl. The significance of Matilda being put in it makes it more real instead of a playground horror story like in the book
- Matilda's powers
- Movie: Powers used early to blow up the TV & scare the Trunchbull with the newt. Can't reuse them immediately
- Book: Powers used for the first time with the newt & can use them immediately afterwards
- I think being able to use her powers immediately does not make a big difference. The difference comes at the time when Matilda is able to first use them. Using them on her parents first in the movie shows the significance
- Lissy doll
- Movie: Belongs to Miss Honey & Matilda helps get her back
- Book: Lissy doll does not exist
- The addition of Lissy doll relates a lot to Miss Honey & Matilda breaking into the Trunchbull's house & Matilda's powers. It is a good addition to the movie but changes the story overall so not having it in the book does not really effect the story
- Scaring the Trunchbull
- Movie: Miss Honey & Matilda break into the Trunchbull's house & Matilda comes back later to steal Lissy doll back while scaring the Trunchbull with a painting of Magnus, Miss Honey's father
- Book: Newt in classroom & the ending with the chalk writing
- Same as Lissy Doll
- Movie: Matilda practices frequently with many things
- Book: After the newt incident she practices with a cigar for the scare
- In the book Matilda only scares the Trunchbull on purpose once so the type & frequency of practice goes with both forms of the story appropiately
- The end of the Trunchbull
- Movie: After the scare at the house & the break in the Trunchbull comes to their class & tries to frighten them into telling. Matilda fights back by using her powers & the Trunchbull gets kicked out of school via food fight then leaves town
- Book: There is no scare or break in at the house just the incident in the classroom with the newt & the chalk then she passes out & gets carried out by the teachers & disappears
- The kids throwing food at the Trunchbull & chasing her out of school has a lot to do with the setting of the movie versus the book. I personally like the movie ending a little bit better, justice is served in the end either way
- Movie: Matilda's family is moving the Guam
- Book: Matilda's family is moving to Spain
- The location of the family is what changes the escape plan
- Happily ever after
- Movie: Matilda gets adopted by Miss Honey at her request & Miss Honey becomes the new principal
- Book: Matilda gets a adopted by Miss Honey
- Much like the end of the Trunchbull I think justice is better served with Miss Honey becoming the new principal in the movie