Matilda Wormwood was a 4-year- old, extraordinary .girl. She was sensitive and mild, not like her parents and her brother Michael. Her parents didn't care about her and left her alone the whole afternoon, so she could go to the library and read books there. When she had read all children books, Matilda started reading grown-ups books.
Mr. Wormwood was a dealer in second-hand cars. One day he explained his to children how to make cars run better. He bought old cars at a very low price, put sawdust into the gear-box and fiddled the mileage down with electric drills. That made the old car look like a new one. But after 100 miles it was just the same old car like it had been before Mr. Wormwood had manipulated it. Matilda didn't think it was right, so she told him that it was dishonest and disgusting. Her father became angry and shouted at her. In the night she thought about how she could pay her father his bad behaviour back. Then she had an idea!
The next morning she took the hat of her father and painted superglue at the inside of its rim. Mr. Wormwood didn't recognise the superglue and put the hat on his head. He drove to the garage and when he wanted to take the hat off, the superglue was hard and he didn't get the hat off. So he had to keep the hat on the whole day long. At home Mrs. Wormwood tried to take off the hat. But that was impossible, so Mrs. Wormwood took a pair of scissors and cut the hat off. At breakfast he had a bald ring round his head and on the fore head there were little pieces of the hat, Mrs. Wormwood couldn't get off.
The lesson was good, but it lasted only for about a week. Then Mr. Wormwood had got a bad day in the garage so he vented his frustration at Matilda. He took the book, Matilda was reading, and tore it in little pieces. So it was time for the next lesson. Matilda borrowed the speaking parrot of her friend Fred and hid it in the chimney of the dining-room. During supper the Wormwoods suddenly heard a voice saying,' Hullo, hullo, hullo'. First the thought it was a thief, but the couldn't find anybody in the living room. Suddenly they heard the voice saying,' Rattle my bones!', all of them fled out of the dining room.
One evening Mr. Wormwood came into the living-room and told his son to take a sheet of paper and a pencil to write down the profits he had made that day. Before Michael was able to calculate the sum, Matilda said the correct result. Her father didn't believe that she had calculated the numbers in her head, so he called her a cheat, a liar and that she had seen the result before. So Matilda thought her father had to get the next lesson.
The next day Matilda got up very early and went into the bathroom. She took the 'Platinum Hair Dye' of her mother and exchanged it with the 'Oil of violets hair tonic' of her father. Then her father came in and washed his hair with the shampoo of his wife. When he came into the kitchen Mrs. Wormwood was shocked. Her husband had got platinum blond hair! She said, that he perhaps had mixed up the shampoos. Mr. Wormwood had to go back into the bathroom and wash the remaining peroxide out of his hair otherwise he would lose his hair.
'Crunchem Hall Primary School' was the school called Matilda started to go to. She was put in the bottom class and her teacher was Miss Jennifer Honey. Miss Honey was soft and mild, and had never shouted at her pupils and that might be the reason why every pupil loved her. On the first day in this class Miss Honey recognised that Matilda was not like the other pupils of her class. She was a genius at arithmetic. But she wasn't only good at arithmetic, she was able to read difficult sentences and wrote limericks like grown-ups. Matilda also told her, that she loved reading books and her favourite book was 'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. Miss Honey was really astounded by the wisdom of such a tiny girl.
Miss Honey was of the opinion that Matilda had to be put in a higher class. So she talked to Miss Trunchbull, who was the Headmistress of the school. Miss Trunchbull didn't look very nice. She looked very muscular and shocking. Miss Honey started to tell about Matilda Wormwood and her genius brain. The Headmistress remembered the name 'Wormwood'. It was the car dealer, who had sold her an almost new car the day before. He told her that her daughter was a bad lot though and a real wart, so she thought that Matilda had lain her a stink bomb in her room. This was the reason why Matilda wasn't put into a higher class. The young teacher tried to tell the Headmistress that she was making a mistake, but Miss Trunchbull didn't want to hear anything else.
That wasn't right in Miss Honey's eyes so she gave Matilda text-books to study while she taught the others the two-times table. One evening Miss Honey went to Matilda's parents to tell them that her daughter was a very intelligent and brilliant girl. But they didn't think so. They were very impolite to her and said that education was not very important. Instead she should think of how she could make herself more attractive to become married early. That was enough and Miss Honey went out of the house.
In school Matilda found new friends. Her best friend was Lavender. During the break the pupils had to stay out in the court. There Matilda and Lavender met Hortensia, who told them that the Headmistress hated small children and that she had a cupboard called 'The Chokey'. The Chokey was a very narrow but tall cupboard. Children that had done bad things were locked in it. The girl told them that she had also been in the Chokey six times. The first time she had poured Golden Syrup on the seat of Mrs. Trunchbull and the second time she had put itching-powder in the Trunchbull's gym knickers. During the lesson a boy who had eaten bonbons was thrown out of the class like she once had thrown the hammer for Britain in the Olympic Games. Suddenly the Trunchbull came into the school court. She shouted for Amanda Thripp and a young girl with two long pigtails stepped forwards. The Trunchbull took Amanda at her pigtails and threw her high up into the sky.
Matilda got another example of how dangerous she was the next day. All pupils had to go to Assembly Hall and wait there until the Trunchbull marched in. She shouted for Bruce Bogtrotter and he went up to her. The Headmistress called him a thief and some other swearwords. She accused him to have eaten a piece of her cake and now he had to eat a whole cake because of his greediness. The Trunchbull thought that the boy would get sick but that wasn't so and the Trunchbull marched angrily off the platform.
The Headmistress announced that she would come into the class and see for the children as soon as she could, so Miss Honey told the children to wear clean clothes, have washed hands and have learned what they had done that week. Lavender had to prepare a jug of water for the Headmistress. But she wanted to play a trick on the Trunchbull, so she caught a newt and transported it in the pencil-box to school the next day. After lunch she fetched a jug of water from the kitchen, placed it at the teacher's desk and put the newt in it.
At two o'clock the Trunchbull came into the class. A boy out of the second row had to stand in the corner on one leg, because he hadn't washed his hands. Then she examined if the children had learnt spelling, reading and arithmetic. She asked Rupert and he said the wrong answer, so she took his hairs and pulled him out of his seat. Then she let him ungently down. After she had punished Eric for false spelling she went on to Matilda. Miss Trunchbull's car had broken down that morning so she called her father a crook. Matilda answered that he was clever at his business, but the Trunchbull just said that she would have an careful eye on her.
Then the Trunchbull sat down and poured water in her glass. Suddenly she saw the newt and shrieked. At once she thought that Matilda wanted to play a trick on her so Matilda had to stand up. The Headmistress accused her and Matilda defended herself, but the Trunchbull didn't stop. Matilda was so angry that she wished the glass would tip. Suddenly it began wobbling and finally the glass with the newt in it fell at the Trunchbull. Angrily the Trunchbull went out and Miss Honey told the pupils to wait for their parents on the playground.
All went out except Matilda. She went to the desk of Miss Honey and told her that she had tipped the glass. First Miss Honey didn't believe her but when Matilda tried it again it tipped a second time. Miss Honey was very astonished, so she wanted to talk to Matilda again at her cottage. Matilda agreed and went to her house. with Miss Honey
The house was very small. It had no electricity and flowing water, so Matilda went out and pulled water out of the well. Miss Honey hadn't got any furniture and she and Matilda had to sit on boxes. That showed that she was very poor and Matilda wanted to find out the cause.
Miss Honey told Matilda that she her mother had died when she was two. So her father had employed her mother's sister, Miss Trunchbull, to look after her. Then her father killed himself and transmitted all the money to her aunt, but Miss Honey didn't believe in suicide. She thought that Miss Trunchbull had killed him to get the money and the house. Miss Honey had lived with the Trunchbull in the house until she had found that little cottage. But she had to pay back the money, Miss Honey had needed when living with the Trunchbull, so she didn't get much for working in the school.
So Matilda worked out a plan against the Trunchbull. Matilda needed her ability to put her plan into action and she practiced it the whole day. First she only moved a cigar, but then she lifted it about six inches high. Six days later she was able to move it all around, like she wanted to. Now she was ready to strike back.
The next day the Headmistress made the weekly test and she was as mean as every day. Suddenly the chalk was moving. It wrote 'Agatha, this is Magnus' at the blackboard. The Trunchbull turned pale and the chalk wrote on that she should give his Jenny back her house and wages. Then she should get out of there and never come back otherwise he would get her. Then the chalk broke in two. The Headmistress fainted and fell down on the floor. Nigel took the jug of water and splashed the water at her head. She woke up and ran in panic out of the school.
The problem was solved. Mr. Trilby was appointed Head Teacher and Matilda moved up into the top form to Miss Plimsoll. Few weeks later Matilda came home and saw her family packing their things into suitcases. Matilda ran as soon as she could to Miss Honey to tell her family wanted to leave for Spain in thirty minutes, because her father had stolen all the cars from all over the country. Both ran to the Wormwood's house. Matilda wanted to stay with Miss Honey but only if her parents signed a contract of adoption, that Miss Honey could adopt Matilda. So they did and Matilda lived with Miss Honey.