The hardest part about choosing a Roald Dahl book for NPR's Backseat Book Club is deciding which one to read! His imagination was so free-ranging — from a magical chocolate factory to a giant peach to quick witted fox — he gave us a lot to choose from.
But we love reading so we had to choose to choose Matilda, who is able to survive her parents' neglect with the help of books. The plucky heroine teaches herself to read by age 3, finds her own way to the library by age 4 — and with the help of her magical abilities and her kind teacher Miss Honey — she takes on the brutish school headmistress Miss Trunchbull. With vivacious drawings by Quentin Blake, the story celebrates Matilda's love of books, and the joy they bring to her absurdly dark world.