Published on (Orginally 1988)
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Matilda Wormwood's father is a mean crooked crook. And her mother's just plain stupid. They think Matilda is nuisance who should watch more TV and read fewer books! But her lovely teacher Miss Honey thinks Matilda is a genius. Matilda has a few extraordinary tracks up her sleeve, so her horrible parents and even more horrible headmistress had better watch out.
One of the fondest memories I have of my childhood revolved around the book Matilda by Roald Dahl.
It’s hard to find the right things to say about how important this book is to me, so I figured I’d just create an acrostic poem to help organize my feels.
M is for ‘MAGIC’.
Matilda awoke the magic within me. When I was younger, I found that there were times where I didn’t think I was very special, or even felt alone. But I’ll never forget the first time I picked up my copy of Matilda, and the one thing that always stood out to me was that I was the wielder of my own brand of magic. I could transport myself into so many stories, and all it would take would be to open up a book. I saw myself in Matilda (and no, my parents/family weren’t as awful as hers); I am forever grateful that when I turned 8, I had Matilda to keep me company. This book sparked my desire for reading.
“So Matilda’s strong young mind continued to grow, nurtured by the voices of all those authors who had sent their books out into the world like ships on the sea. These books gave Matilda a hopeful and comforting message: You are not alone.”
A is for ‘ATTITUDE’.
My whole attitude changed after reading Matilda for the first time. I used to be more shy; I used to be less self-confident. All that changed after getting a glimpse into Matilda’s life. One thing that always struck me about Matilda’s character, was that even when her family, classmates, etc would try to bring her down, she wouldn’t let their negativity knock her off course. She would keep her head high, and always have her wits about her. I loved that she would always stay true to herself.
“Matilda said, “Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable…”
T is for ‘TRILLION’.
As in, I’ve probably read this book a TRILLION TIMES.
I’m not kidding. My original copy of Matilda is kept at my parent’s house because it is in danger of crumbling into dust. I read that copy real effin’ hard. Before I started blogging, I’d let myself read it once a month, because it’s just that good.
Another great ‘T’ word? TIMELESS.
As with most of Roald Dahl’s work, Matilda is TIMELESS. Seriously. I can read this book today as a 33-year-old, and still have the same emotions I had when I read it when I was a wee lass. There aren’t many books I could say that about.
“Being very small and very young, the only power Matilda had over anyone in her family was brain-power.”
I is for ‘IMAGERY’.
Roald Dahl’s stories are woven together in such a way, that the reader is able to transport themselves into them with ease. Every person, place, and thing has a name, and has a purpose. Even the villains are worthy of your notice. (And sometimes they’re so terrible, you can’t help but be captivated by them!)
I love his brand of storytelling; you just can’t find books like these anymore.
“She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village.”
L is for ‘LOVE’.
Okay, I know, I know. It’s not very creative, haha. BUT SERIOUSLY, I LOVE this book. I LOVE his writing, I LOVE his stories! I mean, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Witches – all of these are books that are at the top of my childhood favorites. I love that his books are a perfect mix of whimsical playfulness, and in-your-face, and eye-opening realism. I can’t get enough of his books.
“It’s a funny thing about mothers and fathers. Even when their own child is the most disgusting little blister you could ever imagine, they still think that he or she is wonderful.”
D is for DEVOTED.
Matilda was utterly devoted to her studies and her reading. It was truly something that always struck me. I loved seeing how determined she was to learn, and expand her horizons. As I mentioned previously, this really struck a chord with me. When I first read this book, it was almost like a lightbulb went off in my young brain. I realized that maybe I was just bored with learning because I wasn’t challenging myself enough. So when I was 9, I started asking more questions, exploring my environment more, and trying to get my hands on ever ‘big’ chapter book I could. I realized the more I challenged myself, the more satisfied I became in my learning experience.
“And don’t worry about the bits you can’t understand. Sit back and allow the words to wash around you, like music.”
A is for ADVENTURE.
Reading any Roald Dahl book is an adventure.
Some good, some bad, but all exciting nonetheless.
Whether it’s going to the candy factory of your dreams, dealing with giant fruit, or big friendly giants, a band of children-hating witches, or just to an ordinary home, with an extraordinary child, each of Roald Dahl’s books will take you on an adventure that will help you escape into a world of wonder.
“You seemed so far away,” Miss Honey whispered, awestruck.
“Oh, I was. I was flying past the stars on silver wings,” Matilda said. “It was wonderful.”
Roald Dahl (1916–1990) was one of the world’s most imaginative, successful and beloved storytellers. He was born in Wales of Norwegian parents and spent much of his childhood in England. After establishing himself as a writer for adults with short story collections such as Kiss Kiss and Tales of the Unexpected, Roald Dahl began writing children’s stories in 1960 while living with his family in both the U.S. and in England. His first stories were written as entertainment for his own children, to whom many of his books are dedicated.
Roald Dahl’s first children’s story, The Gremlins, was a story about little creatures that were responsible for the various mechanical failures on airplanes. The Gremlins came to the attention of both First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved to read the story to her grandchildren, and Walt Disney, with whom Roald Dahl had discussions about the production of a movie.
Roald Dahl was inspired by American culture and by many of the most quintessential American landmarks to write some of his most memorable passages, such as the thrilling final scenes in James and the Giant Peach – when the peach lands on the Empire State Building! Upon the publication of James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl began work on the story that would later be published as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and today, Roald Dahl’s stories are available in 58 languages and, by a conservative estimate, have sold more than 200 million copies.
Roald Dahl also enjoyed great success for the screenplays he wrote for both the James Bond film You Only Live Twice in 1967 and for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, released one year later, which went on to become a beloved family film. Roald Dahl’s popularity continues to increase as his fantastic novels, including James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Matilda, The BFG, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, delight an ever-growing legion of fans.
Two charities have been founded in Roald Dahl’s memory: the first charity, Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity, created in 1991, focuses on making life better for seriously ill children through the funding of specialist nurses, innovative medical training, hospitals, and individual families across the UK.
The second charity, The Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre – a unique cultural, literary and education hub – opened in June 2005 in Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived and wrote many of his best-loved works. 10% of income from Roald Dahl books and adaptations are donated to the two Roald Dahl charities.
On September 13, 2006, the first national Roald Dahl Day was celebrated, on what would have been the author’s 90th birthday. The event proved such a success that Roald Dahl Day is now marked annually all over the world. September 13, 2016 is Roald Dahl 100, marking 100 years since the birth of the world’s number one storyteller. There will be celebrations for Roald Dahl 100 throughout 2016, delivering a year packed with gloriumptious treats and surprises for everyone.
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