Matilda Wormwood is the clever, brave, book-loving girl who gives her name to one of Roald Dahl's last published stories: Matilda.
So clever is Matilda that by the age of four, she has read all the children's books in her local library. By the time she begins school aged five she has graduated to Charles Dickens and Rudyard Kipling. What's more, she can multiply large numbers with no trouble and can compose and recite limericks with barely a breath. Her schoolteacher Miss Honey thinks she's a genius.
Unfortunately, her parents aren't so impressed. Mr and Mrs Wormwood completely fail to appreciate her incredible abilities - but luckily for Matilda, this also means they never fail to fall for her tricks...
Because as well as being very clever, Matilda is no stranger to a spot of mischief. From supergluing hats to hiding a parrot up a chimney, she makes her hapless parents pay for their indifference and stupidity in a number of subtle ways.
It's headmistress Miss Trunchbull she saves her greatest trick for, though...
Matilda ultimately uses her incredible powers to help Miss Honey, but in earlier drafts of the story she was actually a "wicked" girl who terrorised her parents and teachers. Roald soon realised this wasn't right, though, and the Matilda we all know and love first appeared in print in 1988.
Since its first publication, Matilda has been adapted into a cult 1996 film, with Mara Wilson playing Miss Wormwood. And in 2010, the Royal Shakespeare Company's musical adaptation of the book with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin opened at Stratford-upon-Avon. A phenomenal success, the musical went on to open in London's West End the following year, on Broadway in 2013, and is set to take Australia by storm in 2015.
As Matilda herself sings in the musical adaptation - "sometimes you have to be a little bit naughty."
I've always said to myself that if a little pocket calculator can do it why shouldn't I?
Children are not so serious as grown-ups and they love to laugh.
Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog.
From 'The Reader of Books'