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Matilda Who Told Such Dreadful Lies . . . .

4.21 of 5 stars 4.21  ·  rating details  ·  56 ratings  ·  11 reviews
A counting book with foldout pages that conceal hidden animals, each in a different color, with a rhyming text to invite the reader to guess the animals and colors.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published March 10th 1992 by Knopf Books for Young Readers (first published 1970)
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Found this book in the library today and found some things about it (besides the content itself) disturbing for a few reasons: One, it was right next to the Madeline books, my favorites growing up, and two, Matilda is my nickname, so...yeah.

Of course it rhymed, playing at charming while creeping me out. Just look at the cat on the title page! That was my reaction to the whole book: bug-eyed and slightly terrified.

While I do see the moral, the fact that Matilda's shouting "Fire!" and the rest of
I picked up this book because I'd read Posy Simmonds' Tamara Drewe. I was surprised by how Edward Gorey-like this is, from the lettering style to Matilda's gruesome end.
The Scrivener's Quill
Belloc is a forerunner to Ronald Dahl and Shel Silverstein. Fun stuff!
The title continues: "...and Was Burned to Death" which really does give away the story. The version I read had charmingly sinister black and white line illustrations by Stephen Kellogg (keep your eye on the rats!). Fans of this poem may find they also enjoy the creepy Der Struwwelpeter (Slovenly Peter): “happy tales and funny pictures” of what happens to misbehaving children who do not listen. Includes the story of another young girl who is warned not to play with matches...
Yet another in my batch of offbeat kids books, this book is perfect for fans of Edward Gorey. The story is Belloc's take on The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf and follows Matilda as she lies about numerous things (including a house fire) for the sheer fun of it. However, when her aunt is out of town, the house really does catch on fire, and of course, no one believes her. The last lines of the story say it all:

"The next day when her Aunt returned, Matilda and the house were burned."
Think "The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf" but darker. Matilda is known for telling lies and when a house fre breaks out and no one believes she's really in danger, she pays the ultimate price for telling lies in the past.

Artwork uses a dark color palette and Matilda is drawn to look like a bad child with shifty eyes that always seem to be plotting something sinister.

Not a happy ending here, but this might be the right book to scare a child out of a developing bad habit.
Sick, twisted, absolutely hilarious! But if you like sweet, gentle stories, stay the hell away from this one.
A lesson in why not to lie...think "The Boy Who Cried Wolf" only with a rather gruesome ending.
Even when I was younger - probably around eleven - I loved this book.
Matilda Who Told Such Dreadful Stories by Hilaire Belloc (1992)
Leah Wener-Fligner
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Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject in 1902. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. He was known as a writer, orator, poet, satirist, man of letters, and political activist. He is most notable for his Catholic faith, which had a strong impact on most of his works and his ...more
More about Hilaire Belloc...
Cautionary Tales for Children The Great Heresies How The Reformation Happened The Servile State The Path to Rome

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