Friday, September 6

Book Look: Matilda by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake (Happy 25 Years!)

Roald Dahl is my favorite author. Period. (Sorry Shakespeare.) I have a very clear memory of when I discovered him. When I was a whole lot shorter than I am now I lived in a cow town up in Washington state. My friends all lived at least an hour away, so I spent a lot of my time with my two imaginary friends (we were triplets) climbing trees, making Halloween decorations, drawing, and of course reading. Reading was my absolute favorite pastime. My dad went away for a business trip to England and brought me back two books. Matilda (which was recently released at the time), and The Witches. I totally devoured these books. They were dark, they had the best (and the scariest) villains, they were absolutely absurd, and they were totally empowering.

I was particularly fond of Matilda, which has been published for 25 years this year if you can believe it! As a young and nerdy reader I could identify with Matilda reading hours in the library. I thought she was lovely because despite all the horrible and truly sad things that happened to this poor girl, she used her cleverness to pull off some truly wicked tricks (like lining her dad's hat with superglue) to get even with those who bullied her. 
I went on to read all of Roald Dahl's children's books and many of his short stories for adults. I cherish his middlegrade novels best of all. No one will top the level of absurdity, the truly dark and sinister characters he wrote about, and the phenomenal ways the child protagonist conquers all.

I'm grateful that Roald Dahl wrote such brilliant stories. 

Almost grateful enough to do this:But not quite.

Anyhow, after getting all blubbery about the best book in the whole wide world (to me that is.) My question to you is, what was your favorite book when you were a kid? Is it still a favorite? Do you remember when you first read it? 

And indulge me if you remember when you read Matilda for the first time. And then you will officially be one of my besties.



Meridth, I was actually thinking of this book earlier today. Matilda was one of the first books I read together with my kids, and REREAD to my kids a couple years later. There are so many empowering, ennobling lessons that kids and big kids can glean from it. Thanks for helping me wish it Happy Birthday for all the Matildas and Miss Honeys in the world.

Meridth Gimbel said...

How cute is that, David? I love it. The first page of the book cracks me up as a parent. Certainly not a perspective I had 25 years ago. And I agree with you, through all the absurdity there are some really strong ideals. Wonderful stuff.

...and you are an awesome dad. Obviously. :)

k.h.whitaker said...

Love Matilda, it was my younger daughter's favorite book. So much so that I gave her a new copy several years ago for Christmas and she's 25. She's read the book and watched the movie more times than I can count. It's much more fun to read than Shakespeare ;)

Meridth Gimbel said...


And you are an awesome mom. Anybody that gives books for presents is a superhero