Matilda Who Told Lies and Was Burned to Death

Matilda Who Told Lies and Was Burned to Death

by Hilaire Belloc, Steven Kellogg

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Belloc's heroine is one of several figures he conceived in satirizing the moralistic tales used in Edwardian England to instill proper behavior in children. Regrettably, Simmonds has illustrated one of the author's least hyperbolic--and thus least successful--verses. Matilda, an incorrigible fibber, calls the fire brigade out on a false alarm; later, when fire does indeed break out, she is disbelieved and left to burn to death. Despite a few delectable moments--the firemen take particular pains to drench the family portraits--the tale overall is macabre rather than funny, both because its denouement is not especially inventive and because death by fire is all too common. And, apart from the marvelous glint in Matilda's eye, Simmonds's illustrations, chiefly in muted pinks and grays, are restrained. A more wildly exaggerated and satisfying spoof can be found in Belloc's Jim, Who Ran Away from His Nurse and Was Eaten by a Lion , riotously illustrated by Victoria Chess. All ages. (Apr.)
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3-- Matilda has obviously not heard the story of the boy who cried wolf. She cries, ``Fire!'' causing a great brouhaha composed of clanging fire wagons, water-drenched drawing rooms, and humiliated female relatives. But it all comes back to her when the house really burns down and no one believes in her cries of alarm. Matilda, along with her abode, is reduced to ashes. Simmonds illustrates Belloc's macabre, Edwardian moral tale with blackly humorous panache. Her smoky palette is perfect for the fiery subject matter, particularly her characterization of Matilda, with her malicious dark eyes and rotund appearance. Paired with other stories on truth telling or read on its own, this has story-time potential for tough-minded moralists. --Ann Welton, Thomas Academy, Kent, WA

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.96(h) x 0.11(d)
Age Range:
4 - 6 Years

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