Shes was someone who minded her own business and had long since discovered it was seldom worth while to interfere with other people's children.
"'Did you know,' Mrs Phelps said, 'that public libraries like this allow you to borrow books and take them home?'" - Matilda
Mrs Phelps is the librarian in charge of Matilda Wormwood's local library and so she is also the first grown-up (aside from Matilda's uninterested parents) to witness first hand Matilda's incredible reading abilities.
Patient as she is, Mrs Phelps spends the first few weeks observing four-year-old Matilda as she works her way through all the children's books in the library. When she has finished, Mrs Phelps hides her astonishment and shares with Matilda her very first adult story: Great Expectations, by Charles Dickens. Under Mrs Phelps's "watchful and compassionate eye," Matilda goes on to read Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, The Invisible Man by H.G Wells, Animal Farm by George Orwell, and many more.
In 1996, Matilda was adapted for the big screen. Jean Speegle Howard played Miss Phelps in the film. The story has also been adapted for the stage, with the RSC's production of Matilda The Musical now playing in London, on Broadway and in Australia.
And don't worry about the bits you can't understand. Sit back and allow the words to wash around you, like music.
Mrs Phelps 1
Roald Dahl's Matilda