Sweet, sensible Matilda and noisy, nefarious Hans really couldn’t be more different. Could they? After all, while the former is delightfully dutiful and dainty, helping with the housework and winning approval wherever she goes, the latter is a rebellious, masked daredevil – clashing dustbin lids, scrawling graffiti, operating in the shadows and clearly headed for disaster. Canny youngsters will love spotting the twist in this funny and subversive tale before the official dénouement – and there’s a serious message here, too, about the dangers of pigeonholing children according to the kinds of behaviour we have come to expect from them, not to mention dividing the world neatly (and unrealistically) into ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’ for the next generation.
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