LBCPuffins – Matilda Write Up – GUEST

LBC Puffins
Venue: Outlaws Yacht Club
Date:  Wednesday, 20th of February 2013
Time:  6pm
Address: 38 New York Street, LS2 YDY


Our write up here is supplied by regular book clubber and book lover extra-ordinarie @AlisonNeale. We rate this report: A* 
SCHOOL REPORT:  Matilda, by Roald Dahl


The first LBCPuffins demonstrated a trait probably likely
to be a recurring theme in this book club: nostalgia. Most
of the Puffins had read the book when young and felt that it
had stood the test of time. Some felt themselves transported
back to childhood as they read, with clear memories of events
and illustrations, and even the book tape to which they had
Some Puffins, while enjoying Matilda, pointed out that it
wasn’t as imaginative as other Dahl books. It was agreed that
it was definitely a classic fairy tale of rags to riches, but
that the characters weren’t as mysterious as in the BFG, for
example, despite the element of ‘magic’. However, many of the
events in the book, such as the cake-eating incident, caused
much hilarity – even laugh-out-loud moments.


Dahl was felt to be encouraging children to battle against
evil adults, although some of the more extreme tricks pulled
by Matilda came with health warnings! While in some ways a sad
and distressing story, the Puffins felt that as children they
had ‘glossed over’ the sadder elements of the tale – perhaps
had not fully understood the implications behind the child
abuse to which Miss Honey and the children were subjected –
but this element had been more disturbing on the re-read.
Fortunately, though, in Dahl’s world, characters who do bad
things surely get their just desserts!
Slight concern was expressed at the animal cruelty in the newt
and parrot sketches. There was also some class snobbery in the
portrayal of poverty and family life, amusing in the comment
about margarine, but slightly more vexing (one Puffin felt)
in the negative portrayal of television – a common theme in
books. Others, though, argued that this was more a criticism
of the style of family life and interaction, and the lack of
respect for books and knowledge over money and appearances.


Descriptions are short but incredibly visual (even without the
illustrations). The Puffins expressed joy at the characters’
names, some of which are almost ‘filthy’ words, and most
of which gave evidence of the distinction between ‘goody’
and ‘baddy’. One Puffin aptly described the names as
almost ‘Dickensian’.
The Puffins couldn’t imagine Dahl’s books with illustrations
by anyone other than Quentin Blake. Although a few of his
early books were illustrated by someone else, they are thus
not as memorable. One Puffin suggested that Blake’s art style

was a visual version of Dahl’s words.


While the scores were very high indeed, they were noticeably
lower from those few Puffins who hadn’t read the book when
young. The averages were 4.675 out of 5 for writing and 4.475
out of 5 for story. Grrr … We all know who decided to
complicate matters with difficult half marks, thus challenging
my maths skills!
In conclusion, then, Matilda, LBCPuffins said, was all about
a child fulfilling her potential, felt to be a common theme
in most of Dahl’s books. Reading here is portrayed as a
superpower. Quite frankly, how could we possibly disagree?!

To find other members of the club, search on twitter for #LBCPuffins
And don’t hesitate to contact Outlaws on @OutlawYachtClub
Let me know your thoughts by either tweeting me @LeedsBookClub, commenting below or emailing me at



2 thoughts on “LBCPuffins – Matilda Write Up – GUEST

  1. Pingback: For the love of reading | Hello from me to you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s