Today is World Book Day, and like thousands of other little girls and boys, Roo got to dress up as a character from a book today. We thought about it and decided on Matilda, from the Roald Dahl book of the same name. It suits little Roo well, she always has her nose in a book, she’s sensitive, inquisitive and very, very bright. No mad telekinesis skills yet though.
She does, however, have nicer parents than Matilda, and as far as I know, there is no chokey to be thrown into at school.
That copy of Matilda is well loved; I used to read that very book when I was a child, and remember loving it. But reading it now gives me a completely different perspective of the story. What was a story about a little girl who had the magical ability to move things with her eyes, and used it to get one over on her horrible family and tyrannical head teacher has become a somewhat darker tale, but one that we still love, nevertheless.
It’s funny how that often happens with children’s books, certainly a lot of Roald Dahl’s novels have fairly sinister undertones, but also books like The Secret Garden (spoilt, bratty child, shipped halfway across the world after the death of her parents, to a place where no one cares about her existence, and ends up practicing voodoo on the Yorkshire moors whilst her invalid cousin slowly falls in love with her) and The Velveteen Rabbit (a full on tear jerker about a toy rabbit who spends most of his life craving the acknowledgement of his thoroughly spoilt owner, only to be saved from certain death at the very last minute by a fairy who turns him into a real bunny after scarlet fever condemns everything to the bonfire). See also, ANYTHING by Maurice Sendak, with the exception of Where the Wild Things Are, which is fabulous. And don’t even get me started on fairytales. So dark, so brilliant.
We love literature, and it’s ability to be different things to different people. Books are amazing, and reading is something I just don’t do enough of, but thankfully, Roo does. I hope she always loves reading the way she does now.
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