Roald Dahl is one of our favorite authors. I finally picked up Matilda at the library. Like all of his other books, this one was silly, full of action, and the girls loved it.
Matilda is a five year old girl who, against her parents' wishes, reads. A lot. She is told to stay at home in the afternoon and watch "the telly." (Dahl is British so uses different terms than Americans do ... which my girls find funny.) Instead of watching television, she walks to the public library, teaches herself how to read, and then reads every single book in the children's section.
Then Matilda moves on to the adult section of the public library and reads classics such as all of the Charles Dickens novels. All the time, her parents punish her when they find her reading. So to get back at them Matilda stages practical jokes on her parents.
Several chapters into the book, Matilda begins kindergarten. Her teacher is a sweet woman who recognizes her brilliance and loves her. The school's principal, Ms. Trunchbull, is horribly mean and wants "a school with no children to run." Ms. Trunchbull is horribly mean and mistreats the children.
So, Matilda begins to play practical jokes on Ms. Trunchbull. In time, Matilda also develops magic powers which she uses to get back at the mean adults in her life.
We also watched the movie, with Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. It was very true to the novel and the girls loved it. Like all of Dahl's books, the mean characters are VERY mean and the children are resourceful and clever.