Author Roald Dahl stands with his wife, American actress Patricia Neal, and their newborn daughter, Lucy, outside their home in Buckinghamshire, England, in August 1965. Every night, author Roald Dahl told his children a story: "Most of them [were] pretty bad," he admitted in a 1972 BBC4 interview, "but now and again you'd tell one and you see a little spark of interest.
Previous audio and Web versions of this story incorrectly referred to Roald Dahl as being English.
If you haven’t read this children’s classic by now you deserve to have it spoiled! I was very quiet as a child, and would prefer reading to visiting friends, playing outside, or just about anything every other child my age seemed to be doing. I imagine if I were born 10 years later, it would be Hermione in the Harry Potter stories who would be my literary soul-mate.
Did you know you can read the same books Rory Gilmore did on the hit tv show GILMORE GIRLS? Matilda has the customary humor and bits of vileness that all of Dahl’s children’s books have that make them so fun and so true to life.
It may surprise some to see Matilda standing higher on this list than poor modest Charlie Bucket. This could be all heresay and conjecture, but at a past ALA event I spoke with an editor who told me that Dahl’s original vision for Matilda was quite the opposite of the final product. In the book Revolting Recipes, there is a recipe for the chocolate cake The Trunchbull makes poor little Bogtrotter devour.  That also happens to be my favorite scene, you know.
Publishers Weekly said of it, “Adults may cringe at Dahl’s excesses in describing the cruel Miss Trunchbull, as well as his reliance on overextended characterization at the expense of plot development. Considering how relatively recently it was published, there aren’t all that many covers.  The usual plays on Quentin Blake, of course. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that the Ukraine has a thriving and superior illustrator community out there.  Here’s their Matilda. Yes, they’ve had auditions for Matilda for Broadway, supposed to open in 2013 sometime.
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Poor, misunderstood Matilda fights back against an unappreciative world through a hidden talent: Matilda is the world’s greatest practical joker! I missed this book the first time around because I was 10 when it was published and I was a bit precocious and never one to read at my grade level.
And if they ever said the next night, 'Tell us some more about that one,' you knew you had something.

And now at last I have finished it, and I know jolly well that I am going to have to spend the next three months rewriting the second half. She used to love going to the library and would sit and read for hours at a time in her bedroom. As much as I love the wonder of the Chocolate Factory, or giggle away to the pranks Mr and Mrs Twit play on each other, or watch the recent BBC adaptation that reminds me of the under-rated gem that is Esio Trot, Matilda has always unwaveringly been my favourite Roald Dahl story. We all take something slightly different from the things we read, and each of us see stories through our own eyes. While I was too shy to really display my know-it-all-ness as she does, I would have loved her intelligence and her courage, and would relate to her especially in the first few books, as she strives to prove herself through studying and exams (and defeating dark wizards). A kid reading Dahl knows he can make something or be someone or do something, no matter what anyone else around him says or does. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that while most (not all) Dahl books starred boys of one stripe or another (George, James, Charlie, etc.) Matilda was the only gal to get her name front and center in the title. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Little effort is needed to put one over on her obnoxious parents, but can shy little Matilda handle the formidable headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and win the respect of every kid in school? I really enjoyed the old Hollywood setting (I’ve been listening to a lot of podcasts about this Hollywood era), and could perfectly picture the Canyon Arms in my head. This went on for quite a long time with a story about a peach that got bigger and bigger and I thought, 'Well heck, why don't I write it.' " That bedtime story became Dahl's first children's book, James and the Giant Peach.
The first half is great, about a small girl who can move things with her eyes and about a terrible headmistress who lifts small children up by their hair and hangs them out of upstairs windows by one ear. We were all allowed to go in there, but we only disturbed him when we absolutely needed to because he used to say that his hut was his nest. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. This of course is one of Dahl’s most famous characters, Matilda Wormwood, but it could also so easily be describing myself as a child. But thanks to Matilda, and in a small part, Belle in Beauty and the Beast, it felt like even though they weren’t in my class at school (my social circle at the time), there were people out there just like me, and I became proud to be a bookworm! This is the closest Dahl ever got to a feminist vision, and little girls everywhere love them their Matilda. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Ia€™m a big Lemony Snicket fan, and it’s easy to see that hea€™s been influenced by Dahl.

You would walk in and the smells were so familiar a€” that very old paper from filing cabinets. After learning all about poor Miss Honey’s plight, Matilda immediately plans to help her, and managed to scare the bejesus out of Ms Trunchbull to boot. So while this book is my favourite, my husband prefers Danny Champion of the World, as Danny’s adventures with his father reminds him of the relationship between himself and his dad. And he sat in his mother's old armchair and then put his feet up on an old leather trunk, and then on top of that he would get into an old down sleeping bag that he would put his legs into to keep him warm.
I was far too timid to even look at a teacher funny as a child, especially if I came across one as huge and intimidating as The Trunchbull! Yes she has supernatural power, but in the end it’s Matilda’s sensibility and thoughtfulness, it’s just doing the right thing that leads to the take down of a horrible villain and encourages all the kids around her. She joins Michele Norris to talk about Matilda, this month's pick for NPR's Backseat Book Club.
I must have rewritten Charlie [and the Chocolate Factory] five or six times all through and no one knows it." Interview Highlights On writing Matilda Matilda was one of the most difficult books for him to write. Matilda made me feel like it was OK to be a bit different, and she even gave me something to aspire to be - although I am still working on the bravery part! Matilda finds her courage facing off with a bully of a headmistress, named Miss Trunchbull.
I think that there was a deep genuine fear within his heart that books were going to go away and he wanted to write about it.
He always had six pencils with an electric sharpener that he would sharpen at the beginning of each session. His work sessions were very strict a€” he worked from 10 until 12 every day and then again from 3 until 5 every day. He also wrote screenplays and he hated writing screenplays, but he did it because the money was good.
I don't know what time it was but that was during the days when he was adapting screenplays and the deadlines would kill him.

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