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
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
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
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.