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It's the big day, everybody: Matilda's first day of school.
She's attending Crunchem Hall Primary School.
Of course smart Matilda could have gone earlier, and the fact that she didn't shows what careless parents she has.
Matilda goes into the equivalent of kindergarten, the youngest age group. Her teacher is the super nice Miss Honey, whom everybody loves.
The school is run by a really, really scary woman named Miss Trunchbull. She terrifies everyone. The narrator compares her to a rhinoceros. Yep, a rhino.
In the first class meeting, Miss Honey gives her students some advice about trying to stay off the Trunchbull's radar.
Math time, kiddos. Miss Honey asks them if they know their multiplication tables, starting with two.
Matilda does, but no one else.
In fact, she keeps going, up and up, until Miss Honey asks her to stop.
At this point, Miss Honey is only more curious; she asks a bunch more math questions using multiples of two, and Matilda nails all of them.
When Matilda tells Miss Honey she knows a bunch of other math stuff, too, Miss Honey is really impressed. She tries to act normally, though, so Matilda doesn't stand out too much.
No matter how or why Matilda can do what she does, Miss Honey suspects Matilda is a super genius. She's special.
Miss Honey decides to test whether Matilda's as good at language as she is at math. Of course she pretends she's asking the whole class questions, but she's really focused on Matilda.
First, Miss Honey asks them to spell "cat," and then to read a whole sentence. Surprise, surprise, only Matilda can read it.
Then Miss Honey asks Matilda to read a poem, and Matilda nails that too. To put icing on the cake, Matilda shows that she knows what kind of poem it is—it's a limerick—and then she recites one she just made up about Miss Honey.
As you might expect, it's a very complimentary poem, and Miss Honey is blown away.
The rest of the kids in the class all like the poem, and they like Miss Honey, too.