Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Celebrating our love of Roald Dahl -- the Matilda 25th Anniversary blog tour

Roald Dahl is one of my all-time favorite authors. Reading his books aloud is a delicious treat, for grown-ups and kids alike. We have particularly loved listening to his audiobooks as a family. We loved, loved, loved Jeremy Irons reading James and the Giant Peach. And Dahl himself recorded many of his books - The Fantastic Mr. Fox was one of our favorites, as well.

I've been so excited that more and more folks are talking about Matilda, with Matilda the Musical moving from London to New York this spring. Did you know that Matilda is turning 25 this year?! On one hand, I'm amazed -- but on the other hand, Dahl's stories have this timeless feel that makes them seem like they've been around forever.

I was happy to help Penguin Young Readers Group celebrate this milestone, joining them in their epic 25-stop blog tour! Bloggers are sharing how they feel about Matilda - join us for a chance to win a Matilda prize pack at each and every stop!

Fill out the form below to enter to win a fabulous Matilda prize pack:
  • a paperback copy of Matilda
  • one copy of the Matilda Broadway soundtrack, and 
  • a Matilda the Musical Broadway poster
I'm super-excited that Penguin Audio is releasing a new audiobook of Matilda on July 3rd. You can get a sneak peak (or listen!) to Kate Winslet reading an excerpt from this new audiobook here. Above all, Matilda loved books -- but only the books that she chose for herself. This quote says it all:
“Matilda said, ‘I would like a really good one that grown-ups read. A famous one. I don’t know any names.’

Mrs. Phelps looked along the shelves, taking her time. She didn’t quite know what to bring out. How, she asked herself, does one choose a famous grown-up book for a four-year-old girl? Her first thought was to pick a young teenager’s romance of the kind that is written for fifteen-year-old schoolgirls, but for some reason she found herself walking past that particular shelf.

‘Try this,’ she said at last, ‘It’s very famous and very good. If it’s too long for you, just let me know and I’ll find something shorter and a bit easier.’

‘Great Expectations,’ Matilda read, ‘by Charles Dickens. I’d love to try it.’

I must be mad, Mrs. Phelps told herself, but to Matilda she said, ‘Of course you may try it.’ –p.15, Matilda
That’s the key, isn’t it? Teachers and librarians foster a love of books in students by introducing them to new books and helping them stretch their limits. Whether it's sharing a favorite classic or a brand new book, the key is helping kids find books that speak to them.

As a school librarian, it's key that I know my students, their tastes and their reading levels. I know that Sam loves books about war - he'll devour anything about World War II, the Vietnam War, the Civil War. He's now my go-to guy to test out new historical fiction about soldiers, and he's thrilled with this new important job. It's also important to give kids the time to share books with one another - their recommendations carry even more weight than mine, in many cases. Each time a class comes in, I set out books that I've chosen just for them.

As a parent, I need to keep telling myself how important it is that my child gets to choose their own books. I might really want my 3rd grader to read Matilda with me, but if she's dying to read the newest Dork Diaries then that's what she should read. I do talk about the importance of variety in our reading diet, especially with my older children who are committed readers. But with kids who are just developing the reading habit, it's crucial that most of their reading flies along without a struggle.

Giveaway Rules:
  1. This giveaway will run from June 12, 2013, at 12:01 PST until July 2, 2013, at 11:59 PST. No purchase necessary.
  2. You may enter once each day.
  3. You must be at least 13 years old.
  4. You must have a US shipping address.
  5. Please pay it forward, sharing a book with a friend.
Prizes courtesy of Penguin Young Readers Group.

Be sure to visit the Official Matilda Facebook page to keep up with all things Matilda! To find out more about Matilda the Musical on Broadway, visit their Facebook page!

For the next stop on the Matilda 25th Anniversary blog tour, head to Bookish.

The review copies were kindly sent by the publishers, Penguin Young Readers Group. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2013 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books


  1. My family loves the audiobook with Joely Richardson--sorry that she's being replaced, even if it's with an actress of Kate Winslet's stature.

  2. My students loved Ronald Dahl this year! Have you read Who Was Ronald Dahl? After a few of the novels, my students read this biography and then they were hooked on the Who Was series! I love when they are hooked on anything so Ronald Dahl helped us out in many ways this year. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners