Let’s have a look at one of the adaptations of Matilda by Roald Dahl in this What’s the Difference?

Video: Matilda by Roald Dahl – Lost in Adaptation.

Recently our youngest has been on something of a Roald Dahl and Dick King-Smith read-a-thon. She is very much looking forward to the new Matilda film coming out soon and very much enjoyed the book.

Part of the reason for her enjoyment was that, unlike The Water Horse by Dick King-Smith, the movie protagonist is a girl just like in the book.

“Why would they make the girl into a boy for the film?”

Yes, Hollywood, why indeed.

I can vaguely remember watching the 90s film Matilda and enjoying it. Our youngest loved it. And we’ll inevitably sit down as a family to watch the new version. And this is in no small part due to the lack of kids books and adaptations featuring a female protagonist. You have to make the most of the handful of female-lead books and movies aimed at the middle-grade audience (YA is better served but comes with slightly more stabbings and blood-drinking than we’re comfortable exposing a kid to).

As with many of Dahl’s children’s books, the treatment of kids comes from a different era. Matilda was published in 1988, yet much of the way schools were run had already begun to change by then. In many ways, the mistreatment of students by teachers would probably feel more familiar to my parent’s generation than it does to me, and feels odd to our kids. Yet it still manages to be entertaining to kids, if our children are any barometer of what kids these days like.

Update: the new adaptation was good. Our youngest has already watched it twice.

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