I have had an urge recently to revisit my childhood reading and within the look back I have found myself back at Roald Dahl. Thankfully they have not been tampered with as Enid Blyton’s have, I will you refer you back to a previous post of mine and not get on that soap box again!
I loved Roald Dahl books as a child, they were and are now having revisited this one delightful, well written, inspiring, strange and macabre as well as funny and poignant. You know there was good and bad in them, and everything was made into order by the end. You could tell who was good and bad by their names Miss Honey speaks volumes of someone soft and sweet, whilst Mr Wormwood is someone who is slimy and creepy getting into things he should not be. I think Dahl used his characters names for that purpose and they are just amusing to an adult who can see other meanings, than to a child who has not had the experience of meeting such people in real life.
I chose to reread Matilda. Why? Because of the love of books that Matilda and I both share. Here enjoyment of reading just jumps off the page and for someone so young (genius or not) she knows the best way to read a book
…Her own small bedroom now became her reading-room and there she would sit and read most afternoons, often with a mug of hot chocolate beside her…
Obviously there is the case when people do not understand what pleasure can be had with reading
…Perhaps his (Mr Wormwood) anger was intensified because he saw her getting pleasure from something that was beyond his reach…
When I read this as a small person, I remember being in the library and really excited at seeing this hardback version (exactly like the one pictured at the top of this post) of the book on a high shelf just waiting to be read. Telling my mum that I had a book from the library that had only just been published or to me was just new was as exciting. I devoured the book. I cannot be sure as memory does funny things, but it must have been on Jackanory at some point as well. Even better seeing the book brought to life and hearing it read. I will gloss over the film adaptation.
My review for the book can be found here on Amazon. I wanted this post to be about everything that the book brings to mind and an Amazon review is not always the best place to do that.
I think mention also has to go to Quentin Blake for his illustrations something, for me they brought exactly what I was imagining and Dahl was describing to life.
I have read this book on my kindle and the illustrations are on there as well – and they are just as effective. The one I have shown here probably resembles my flat at times, me sat there trying to choose what book to read next.
Obviously on the kindle they are not in colour. I am looking forward to picking up another Roald Dahl book with illustrations by Quentin Blake knowing everything has been captured correctly.
I will finish the picture of the kindle version which nicely bookends the first time I read Matilda and the last time.