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Matilda Chapter 1 Summary
The Reader of Books The book begins with the narrator talking generally about how most parents think their own kids are the best things since sliced bread. See, the problem is, not all children can be the best thing since sliced bread. In fact, a lot of them are jerks in real life, and our narrator doesn't like that at all. Then the narrator starts talking about parents who are totally different: the Wormwoods, who don't think there's anything special about their children, Michael and Matilda. In fact, they don't give Matilda the time of day. But if any kid ever deserved a parent's special attention, it's Matilda. She is, in a word, awesome. But the more Matilda achieves, the more annoying her parents think she is. She's a child prodigy, but they think she's a pain in the butt. (The Wormwoods are not the smartest of people.) Matilda teaches herself to read and wants to read more, even though her parents just want to watch TV. On weekdays her parents leave her alone for a while, even though she's super little, so she up and goes to the library on her own. She's just four, by the way. The librarian, Mrs. Phelps, helps her pick out books. First Matilda reads all the kids' books. Then she asks Mrs. Phelps to pick out something else for her. That's when Mrs. Phelps realizes Matilda's special. So while the librarian treats Matilda like she's normal, she gives her highly advanced books to read. To start? Great Expectations. Score! Matilda reads her first Dickens book—no sweat. She asks for more. So Mrs. Phelps builds her a reading list, and teaches her about the importance of reading. Along the way, Mrs. Phelps realizes that Matilda's parents are just the worst, but she doesn't really do anything to interfere in Matilda's family life. After Matilda has read several books way above her age level, Mrs. Phelps gets her a library card. That means less visits to the library for Matilda, but she's reading just as much. She takes the books home, makes herself cozy, warm drinks (even though she's basically too small to use her family's stove), and reads every afternoon in peace.
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