The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving

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The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Zoe Morris
Reviewed by Zoe Morris
Summary: Not your average heroine, Matilda is a fabulous inventor who just wants the world to see that girls can invent and discover cool stuff too. Funny, witty and all round entertaining.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: July 2017
Publisher: Corgi Childrens
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-0552568371

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When you're wronged, and you know you've been wronged, it's the worst feeling in the world. When someone takes credit for something you have done, claiming a prize that is rightfully yours, it's a horrible, horrible injustice, and that's the same whether it's a Nobel Prize or simply the blue ribbon (and excessive amounts of dog food) given away at a school science fair. Now parents might tell you that life's not fair, you win some you lose some, or any of a number of clichés, but if your name is Matilda you just can't let it lie. And, when she finds out that her granny was side-lined for a much bigger award, for work she did 50 years ago, she makes it her mission to right the wrong and let the world know exactly what happened.

The Matilda Effect is a lovely book that promotes all the things you might want the young girls in your life to be – inquisitive, outgoing, spunky, rambunctious. As a budding inventor, Matilda favours blue dungarees because they have lots of pockets for all her tools, and I don't think she brushes her hair once during the whole book. She certainly wouldn't be caught dead in those Dolly Babe shoes for girls currently doing the rounds. Marvellous.

As many of the best books for children do, this one requires you to suspend your disbelief just ever-so slightly. So what if Granny lives in a care home under constant observation, so what if Matilda is just a little girl, so what if neither of them has a passport? It doesn't mean they can't get their way from England to Sweden if needs must. With a few nods to contemporary issues (the border guards at Calais are rather busy trying to keep people from illegally sneaking onto lorries headed for the UK) this is a book otherwise full of timeless adventure where there are good guys and bad guys, lost dogs and lazy swimmers, clown cars and hot air balloons, not to mention handsome teen heartthrobs and petty criminals. With not much in the way of cash, and no language skills to speak of, it's a race against time for Matilda and Granny Joss if they're going to stop an injustice before it's too late.

There are 33 (short) chapters in this story, all with fun titles though I must confess I barely noticed these at the time as I read straight through without needing the breaks. Unlike younger readers, there was no one telling me to finish just one more chapter and then turn off the light. And this book is so good you may well have to issue that warning, because the story just keeps on going, jumping from place to place, mishap to mishap, all the while pulling together strands that will lead lots of people into the same city hall at the same time in a few pages time. While somewhat out of the target age range (it's 9-11 year olds officially, but it could work for 7+ with a bit of support and maybe some read aloud chapters at bedtime), I really enjoyed this story. Matilda was so likeable, with her eccentric mannerisms and turns of phrase, and she's definitely a good role model. There are bits of science dotted throughout the story, and though I didn't get my astrophysicist sister to check the space stuff, it all seemed ok to me. At the end we have Matilda's list of top inventors, and top women, and also some simple science experiments to try at home. I think the only thing missing was a recipe for Svetlanka's grandmother's cake.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending us a copy to review. It was rather super.

Matilda has a naughty streak at times, but she's a far cry from The World's Worst Children by David Walliams and Tony Ross.

Buy The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving at

Buy The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving at


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