How we cite our quotes:
By the time she was three, Matilda had taught herself to read by studying newspapers and magazines that lay around the house. At the age of four, she could read fast and well, and she naturally began hankering after books. (1.9)
In case we hadn't realized it yet, Matilda is far from an ordinary, run-of-the-mill child. She is special. She's able far beyond her years, which makes her wiser than a lot of the less educated, less smart adults in her life. It's no wonder that she's a telekinetic wiz at the ripe old age of, oh, five.
Most children in Matilda's place would have burst into floods of tears. She didn't do this. She sat there very still and white and thoughtful. She seemed to know that neither crying nor sulking ever got anyone anywhere. The only sensible thing to do when you are attacked is, as Napoleon once said, to counter-attack. (4.14)
Machiavelli, take note! Matilda's battle ready. Whereas most kids might mope or cry, she takes matters into her own hands. Sulk? No thank you. She'd rather strategize.
"Do you think that all children's books ought to have funny bits in them?" Miss Honey asked.
"I do," Matilda said. "Children are not so serious as grown-ups and they love to laugh."
Miss Honey was astounded by the wisdom of this tiny girl. She said, "And what are you going to do now that you've read all the children's books?"
"I am reading other books," Matilda said. "I borrow them from the library. Mrs Phelps is very kind to me. She helps me to choose them." (7.116-119)
We can't help but wonder if Matilda might be speaking for the man himself, here—Roald Dahl. After all, all the books he wrote for children had funny bits, and that's what makes him such a memorable author. Kids love to laugh, and Roald Dahl loved to make kids laugh.