In a small Buckinghamshire village, Matilda Wormwood, a five-and-half-year-old girl of unusual precocity, whose parents treat her with disdain, resorts to pranks like gluing her father’s hat to his head, hiding a friend’s parrot in the chimney to simulate a burglar or ghost, and secretly bleaching her father’s hair, to get revenge on her parents (particularly her father) for their rude and neglectful manners towards her. Matilda has read a variety of books by different authors, especially at the age of four, when she read many in six months.
At school, Matilda befriends her teacher, Jennifer Honey, who is astonished by her intellectual abilities. She tries to move her into a higher class but is refused by the headmistress, the tyrannical Miss Agatha Trunchbull. Miss Honey also tries to talk to Mr. and Mrs. Wormwood about their daughter’s intelligence, but they just ignore her.
Miss Trunchbull also confronts a girl with pigtails called Amanda Thripp and does a hammer throw with the girl. Another boy called Bruce Bogtrotter is caught stealing Miss Trunchbull’s cake and Miss Trunchbull makes him eat a very large cake.