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Matchless: An Illumination of Hans Christian Andersen's Classic "The Little Match Girl"

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Every year, NPR asks a writer to compose an original story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire reinvented the Hans Christian Andersen classic "The Little Match Girl" for a new time and new audiences. When it was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, audiences likely interpreted the Little Match Girl′s dying visio Every year, NPR asks a writer to compose an original story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire reinvented the Hans Christian Andersen classic "The Little Match Girl" for a new time and new audiences. When it was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, audiences likely interpreted the Little Match Girl′s dying visions of lights and a grandmother in heaven as metaphors of religious salvation. Maguire′s new piece, entitled "Matchless," reilluminates Andersen′s classic, using his storytelling magic to rekindle Andersen′s original intentions, and to suggest transcendence, the permanence of spirit, and the continuity that links the living and the dead.


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Every year, NPR asks a writer to compose an original story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire reinvented the Hans Christian Andersen classic "The Little Match Girl" for a new time and new audiences. When it was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, audiences likely interpreted the Little Match Girl′s dying visio Every year, NPR asks a writer to compose an original story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire reinvented the Hans Christian Andersen classic "The Little Match Girl" for a new time and new audiences. When it was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, audiences likely interpreted the Little Match Girl′s dying visions of lights and a grandmother in heaven as metaphors of religious salvation. Maguire′s new piece, entitled "Matchless," reilluminates Andersen′s classic, using his storytelling magic to rekindle Andersen′s original intentions, and to suggest transcendence, the permanence of spirit, and the continuity that links the living and the dead.

30 review for Matchless: An Illumination of Hans Christian Andersen's Classic "The Little Match Girl"

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Matchless: A Christmas Story, Gregory Maguire The story focuses on Frederick, the "urchin" from Andersen's original story who took one of the Match Girl's slippers. Frederick is the son of a poor woman who works as a seamstress to clumsy royalty. Frederick takes the slipper to act as a boat for the spool people that populate the toy town he has created in secret in his attic. One year after the death of the Match Girl, Frederick nearly gets lost late at night but is guided safely home by some mys Matchless: A Christmas Story, Gregory Maguire The story focuses on Frederick, the "urchin" from Andersen's original story who took one of the Match Girl's slippers. Frederick is the son of a poor woman who works as a seamstress to clumsy royalty. Frederick takes the slipper to act as a boat for the spool people that populate the toy town he has created in secret in his attic. One year after the death of the Match Girl, Frederick nearly gets lost late at night but is guided safely home by some mysterious lights like the ones that the Match Girl saw during her own strange experience. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز دواردهم ماه آوریل سال 2019 میلادی عنوان: پسرک بی‌کبریت: شرحی بر «دخترک کبریت فروش» نوشته‌ ی هانس کریستن آندرسن؛ نویسنده: گرگوری مگوایر؛ مترجم: کامروا ابراهیمی؛ تهران: انتشارات بین‌المللی عصر قلم‏‫، 1398؛ در 52 ص؛ شابک: 9786226020510؛ موضوع: افسانه های پریان - از نویسندگان ایالات متحده آمریکا - سده 21 م نقل از: نویسنده گرگوری مگوایر، آوریل 2009 میلادی: داستان «دخترک کبریت فروش»، اثر نویسنده‌ ی دانمارکی «هانس کریستین آندرسن» که به دعوت سردبیرِ تهیه کننده‌ ی مجموعه‌ ای از تصاویر الهام‌ آفرین، نگاشته شده بود، این داستان در سال 1843 میلادی موفقیت و دستاورد بزرگی کسب کرد. یکی از آن تصاویر، کودکی را نشان می‌داد، که در خیابان چوب کبریت‌ می‌فروخت. بخش دوم داستان «پسرک بی‌کبریت»، تقریبا شیوه‌ ی روایتگری «آندرسن» را به طور دقیق دنبال می‌کند، هرچند در راستای بهبود درام، من داستان را از «شب سال نو» به «شب کریسمس» انتقال داده‌ ام. همچنین اجازه دادم در این داستان، دخترک کبریت فروش، به روح مادر از دست رفته‌ اش بپیوندد، بر خلاف آنکه در نوشته‌ ی آندرسن، دخترک به دیدار مادربزرگ فقید و محبوبش می‌شتابد. برعکس باقی محبوب‌ترین قصه‌ های آندرسن، «دخترک کبریت فروش»، برای القای جذابیت و گیرایی‌ اش، نه به موجودات سحرآمیز تکیه دارد، نه به آرایه‌ ی جان‌بخشی. درست است، جادوی مقدسِ رحمت خداوند به فقرا و سپس مردن ممکن است در صحنه‌ ی پایانی داستان حکمفرما باشد، اما خوانندگان احتمالا می‌توانند به راحتی تصورات دخترک را به عنوان اوهام کودکی که از سرما در حال یخ زدن و مرگ است تعبیر و تفسیر کنند. آندرسن این داستان را، در دومین مجموعه‌ ی افسانه‌ هایش گنجانده است. در حالی‌که داستان‌های «پری دریایی کوچولو»، «جوجه اردک زشت»، و «سرباز حلبی وفادار» قدرت افسونگری‌شان را به خوبی حفظ می‌کنند، موقعیت دخترک کبریت فروش اما، برای مخاطبان عصر مدرن بیش از اندازه غم‌ انگیز، جلوه‌ گر شده است. در انتخاب این قصه برای بازنگری – یا بازسازی، شاید – امیدوار بودم، با پیدا کردن راهی برای بازگرداندن داستان به صحنه‌ ی متعالی قابل درک، برای بسیاری از خوانشگران سده نوزدهم، بچه‌ ها و همین‌طور بزرگترها، شان و اعتبار متن اصلی را نمایان‌تر کنم. «پسرک بی‌ کبریت»، در اصل برای استفاده به صورت نسخه‌ ی شنیداری نگاشته شد. این داستانک، نخستین بار در روز کریسمس سال 2008 میلادی، در برنامه‌ ی «حساب همه‌ چیز شده»، از رادیوی عمومی ملی، توسط خودِ نویسنده به اجرا درآمد. در پایان سپاس‌گزاری می‌کنم از کاسی جونز، اندی نیومان، جرمی نیوسباوم، ویلیام ریس، تیمی بی‌همتا از با استعدادهای دوران؛ از سوزان والیدنا و اشلی برایان، که بستر لازم را برایم فراهم ساختند: و از الن سیلوا در رادیوی عمومی ملی، که از من دعوت کرد تا برای تعطیلات کریسمس و سال نو فرصت خلق داستانی تازه را داشته باشم؛ پایان نقل از نویسنده داستان. ا. شربیانی

  2. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    Maguire takes the unhappy tale of a little match-selling girl who freezes to death, and attempts to give it a heartwarming spin by at least having something good come out of her death. Despite his efforts, the story still seems bleak, and depressing . . . though the book itself is a visual treat with lovely marbleized endpapers, and plentiful illustrations by the author. Maguire takes the unhappy tale of a little match-selling girl who freezes to death, and attempts to give it a heartwarming spin by at least having something good come out of her death. Despite his efforts, the story still seems bleak, and depressing . . . though the book itself is a visual treat with lovely marbleized endpapers, and plentiful illustrations by the author.

  3. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    If revival is to music and remake is to movies, retelling is to stories. Now I know what my two friends here in Goodreads have been ranting to me whenever I see them. They both love reading retelling of children's books. One is even planning to write retellings of known Filipino fairy tales or folklores. At first, I was not sure what this meant as I was not really a fan of fairy tales or folklores. My parents did not read children's books to me when I was a child. Our island-hometown did not have If revival is to music and remake is to movies, retelling is to stories. Now I know what my two friends here in Goodreads have been ranting to me whenever I see them. They both love reading retelling of children's books. One is even planning to write retellings of known Filipino fairy tales or folklores. At first, I was not sure what this meant as I was not really a fan of fairy tales or folklores. My parents did not read children's books to me when I was a child. Our island-hometown did not have electricity then so at sunsets we all had to be in bed and ready to sleep. So even up to now, I have not read all the well-known children's stories by Hans Christian Anderson, Aesop or Grimm. Sure, I read some of them to my own daughter (obviously we have electricity now) but not Anderson's The Little Match Girl. I only came to hear the story when John Paul Evan's used it as part of the intro to her novel Grace: A Novel which was my first audio CD book. I was touched by the sad story of the little girl who died of cold and hunger in the snowy street on New Year's Day. So, when I saw this book, Matchless: A Christmas Story last week, I bought it right away. I would like to know what retelling is and what would an American author, Gregory Maguire (born 1954) tweak in a Dane (Hans Christian Andersen) classic. He just did two things: changed the night from New Year's to Christmas Eve and the girl being reunited in her death with her mother instead of her grandmother. Then he put the additional stories before and after that night. The result is simply brilliant. Maguire was able to provide the complete picture of who the characters were and put hope to a rather too sad of a story to tell during Christmas season. This is my second book of him, the first was Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West which was the continuation of another classic children's book, L. Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. But it is not a re-telling as he left Dorothy's original story untouched. I am looking forward to reading more retellings now. Like in music or movies, old classic pieces can be retold. As long as their revival or remakes are better, then I am for it. Of course, in music and movies, the technology is an obvious advantage. That's why retelling is amazing. It does not have the advantage of technology. It just relies on the creativity and imagination of the writer. Gregory Maguire has those in his arsenal of talents as a novelist. I will soon definitely pick up Maguire's Son of a Witch that has been gathering dust in my bookshelves for more than a couple of years now. His Wicked was a so-so book for me but in Matchless he is simply brilliant. There should be more of this writer that I should know about. 33 days more before Christmas and this book begun making me feel that the holidays are fast approaching. Very good book to usher in that Christmas feeling!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

    I picked MATCHLESS as a quick read. Before I read this really quick read, I read the original story. After that I read MATCHLESS. When I first started reading the story, I thought that the little match girl had been replaced by a boy named Frederik, since in the first chapter his family has an issue with matches as well. The Frederik part of the story was ok. Frederik's main problem is that he can not share of himself to others emotionally. He is making a town in his attic bedroom that means the I picked MATCHLESS as a quick read. Before I read this really quick read, I read the original story. After that I read MATCHLESS. When I first started reading the story, I thought that the little match girl had been replaced by a boy named Frederik, since in the first chapter his family has an issue with matches as well. The Frederik part of the story was ok. Frederik's main problem is that he can not share of himself to others emotionally. He is making a town in his attic bedroom that means the world to him, but that he never shares with his mother, who is his family. The town is made up of bits and odds and ends that he has scavenged around his town. A big deal is made out of the fact that only two wooden spool people live in it. Now let's see home for the little match girl, "Besides, it was cold at home, for they had nothing..." And then there is Frederik's relationship with his mother, a seamstress for the Queen, "His stomach muttering with hunger, Frederik kissed his mother and left." And now the little match girl, "She was getting colder and colder, but did not dare to go home, for she had sold no matches, nor earned a single cent, and her father would surely beat her." One story really tugs at your heart and the other is an 'eh.' In the original tale, the little match girl is really really afraid of going home to her cruel father so she remains "In the cold and gloom a poor little girl, bareheaded and barefoot, was walking through the streets.." (original tale) Fredrik's biggest fear in the story seemed to be that his mother was going to leave him alone for the holiday. When I got to the second chapter, I noticed that Frederik was not intended to be a replacement for the little match girl, which was good, because quite frankly compared to her, he has it made. Frederik enters the little match girl's life as the boy who ended up taking her too big shoes that had belonged to her now dead mother. In the original story the boy is a blip. In MATCHLESS, Frederik becomes quite possibly the reason the little match girl froze to death when we discover that the too big shoe contained a key with and address attached to it (why it has an address attached to it doesn't make sense--doesn't the little match girl know where she lives after all?) Frederik buggs his mother to take him to the address where he finds the little match girl frozen to death on a table surrounded by her grieving father and neighbors who are rude to Frederik. Couldn't the father have had one of the neighbors look for his child when she didn't come home? At this point, Frederik's mother notices the little match girl's baby siblings and so she begins to nurse one. I thought she was a seamstress not a wet nurse... As a mother who has nursed, I'd like to inform Mr. MacGuire that mother's milk only comes out under certain circumstances. It seems to me that Frederik was too old to be drinking mother's milk and since there was no mention of a recently deceased baby or toddler sibling.....where did the magical mother's milk come from?? Frederik takes the other baby into his arms. Fast-forward a year. The little match girl's family and Frederik and his mother are now known as The Brady Bunch. When Frederik finds himself in a life-threatening predicament, the soul of the Little Match Girl saves him. Once home, Frederik doesn't share this with his mother or his new step-father even though Frederik knows he is sad about having lost his daughter the year before. Instead, Frederik takes his new little sisters up stairs to his attic bedroom and shows them his town. It has grown and now contains spools and spools of wooden people. The little girls are elated. ....And in a pauper's grave in the cold and dark lay the little match girl ... All alone she is on this holiday. ...There was no visit. ...There was no wreath. ...No candle. ...No flowers. ...Her life became the sacrifice so that her father could find a wife of better means than he and so her little sisters would have a chance of surviving. The latter I don't have a problem with. The former is an 'eh.' ...the original story, THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL, is sad. ....MATCHLESS is CRUEL... Why? Frederik still shuts himself emotionally from others--though not as much and while he knows that the soul of the Little Match Girl is very much with him and that she is happy somehow he doesn't share it with everyone in his family as mentioned above. It is also CRUEL, because... The LITTLE MATCH GIRL was published in 1846. MATCHLESS was published in 2009. After 163 years, of suffering a cold and bitter death due to the cruelty of humanity, the Little Match Girl's plight was reduced to what seems to be an unfortunate accident. Her plight becoming secondary to Frederik's. After 163 years, a new character who played a bit part in the original was introduced, given a mother, a home, some food, and even some toys. After 163 years, this new character was named Frederik and given the Little Match Girl's family. The cruel father who beat her became Frederik's sad but loving step-father. Saddest of all, after 163 years, the little match girl remains just that: A little match girl. She wasn't even given a name...my first guess was to call her angel, but that didn't seem to fit and the name "Hope" popped into my head and so from now on when I read the ORIGINAL story, I will call her that. As for MATCHLESS, one read is enough cruelty for me... Humanity was already cruel to HOPE. Victimizing HOPE so that another can find himself does nothing for me...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

    What an awful story. Though the original (The Little Match Girl) was depressing, at least it provided social commentary and had a moral to it. This... this is just bad. Matchless focuses on the tale of Frederick. At the beginning one might think Frederick is Maguire's substitute for the little match girl in the original. No, she's still there, simply relegated to a minor roll in the story. She still dies, although this time around it's not through the cruelty of society, but simply a series of ac What an awful story. Though the original (The Little Match Girl) was depressing, at least it provided social commentary and had a moral to it. This... this is just bad. Matchless focuses on the tale of Frederick. At the beginning one might think Frederick is Maguire's substitute for the little match girl in the original. No, she's still there, simply relegated to a minor roll in the story. She still dies, although this time around it's not through the cruelty of society, but simply a series of accidents (oops, she lost her slipper with her house key in it) and stupidity (she freezes to death while playing with matches rather than going home or asking someone for help). In the original, her father was a horrible man who would beat her had she come home without selling any of her matches. In Matchless, he's portrayed as a loving father and little match girl simply assumes he'll beat her if she comes home penniless. As written by Maguire, her fear is completely unfounded while in the original her fear is justified and understandable. It's ok though, next Christmas little Frederick is lost and dead little match girl's ghost leads him home with her ghostly matches. Everyone lives happily ever after. Hooray! Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! Oh, except the dead little match girl, frozen to death the year before. Frederick doesn't even bother telling dead little match girl's father, who's grieving his daughter, about her ghost leading him home. Frederick is a self-absorbed, oblivious, little twit. Side rant #1: Frederick's mother breastfeeding the little match girl's infant siblings. Frederick is old enough that he hasn't been breastfed in years (he walks, talks, makes his way ineptly around town, and even provides stolen fish for his family). No mention is made of any recently deceased babies in his family, nor any mention of his mother being a wet nurse (the story specifically goes on and on at length about her being a seamstress to the queen). Women do not spontaneously begin lactating when presented with an infant. This was a glaring mistake on Maguire's part. Side rant #2: In the ebook edition there was no indentation of paragraphs or line spacing between paragraphs. I'm sure this was the publisher's fault, but when the ebook specifically has "text-indent" in the CSS, you'd think it would be set to some value other than 0. One star for the illustrations, that's all this dreck deserves. Maguire's attempt to turn a sad story into something cheerful is a complete failure.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Samantha

    Where in the world do I begin?? Hmm--how about the definition of a retelling? Retelling- A new version of a story. Let me think. Was that a retelling of a story?? Not really. The basic fairy tale that was meant to be "retold" was, in fact, the same. This would be more like an add-on type thing. If you want to even call it that. Before I read Matchless, I read Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Match Girl," so I could have a reference to go off of. I didn't really need it, considering Mr. Magu Where in the world do I begin?? Hmm--how about the definition of a retelling? Retelling- A new version of a story. Let me think. Was that a retelling of a story?? Not really. The basic fairy tale that was meant to be "retold" was, in fact, the same. This would be more like an add-on type thing. If you want to even call it that. Before I read Matchless, I read Hans Christian Anderson's "The Little Match Girl," so I could have a reference to go off of. I didn't really need it, considering Mr. Maguire just decided to basically plagiarize Mr. Anderson's work without changing anything except for who the girl saw when she was dying. Wow. That story was retold SO well. [enter sarcasm in that last sentence] I can't believe this guy!! He has the nerve to say: I'm gonna retell this story because the world needs to hear it. Then just copies something that someone else could have easily picked up and read for themselves without all the extra bunk about Frederik. Frederik.....I could really care less for him. He's a poor boy...wow, so was Oliver Twist. He makes things out of random objects,....so did Quasimodo in Disney's version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. If I want a Queen's nursemaid person (seamstress, whatever), I will go pick up InkSpell and have a side of adventure added to my meal....make it a combo. Frederik's mom marries the dad of the little match girl in this story....big whoop. Hamlet's mom marries Hamlet's uncle...and May Parker marries J. Jonah Jameson Sr. in the Spider-Man series. Who really cares? Apparently, no one cares about the Little Match Girl. At first, when Frederik says they need matches because they're out, I figured: "Oh yay!! They're going to buy matches from the little match girl and everything will be okay. She will go home and have a merry christmas and won't have to die." OR "Yay!! Frederik is going to go to buy matches, see the Little Match Girl and save her from death! She will be fed a relatively proper meal, he might give her some new shoes and everything will end well..because it's a CHRISTMAS STORY!!!!" Remember, THIS IS A CHRISTMAS STORY!!!!! Last time I checked, I don't think people get warm fuzzy feelings when they hear about little kids dying at Christmas. It's bad enough that Tiny Tim already has crutches. That's enough pain & suffering for us!! We don't need to hear about a Little match Girl who was totally innocent die because she froze!!! The world has enough problems without Mr. Maguire adding his own depressing .2 cents. I'm really gonna read this at Christmas time and then say: "That was a great story, huh kids? Fabulous story! A little girl froze to death while you get to be nice and warm in this house. Now let's cut the turkey and open presents!!" NO. NUH-UH. WON'T HAPPEN. This "retelling" was a waste of time. Frederik was unnecessary, the Little Match Girl STILL DIED, and this was an EPIC FAIL. Better luck next time Mr. Maguire. >=(

  7. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    I know it's still too far away for Christmas for me to be reading this book, but since I've been experiencing some down time in the office today, I decided to find a quick read just to clear the cobwebs off my head. Luckily, my copy (thanks, Kuya Doni!) is sitting on my office table, so I picked it up and was finished it in just a few minutes. Just the perfect light read, this book. A retelling (or reillumination, in the author's own words) of Hans Christian Andersen's classic story, "The Little I know it's still too far away for Christmas for me to be reading this book, but since I've been experiencing some down time in the office today, I decided to find a quick read just to clear the cobwebs off my head. Luckily, my copy (thanks, Kuya Doni!) is sitting on my office table, so I picked it up and was finished it in just a few minutes. Just the perfect light read, this book. A retelling (or reillumination, in the author's own words) of Hans Christian Andersen's classic story, "The Little Match Girl", Matchless is an inventive and clever spin on the original tale. What Gregory Maguire did was to create his own character, the boy Frederik, with his own storyline, and tie it up to the story of Andersen's Match Girl. The interweaving of their stories paved the way for the creation of another illustrious read. Thus, although "The Little Match Girl" had a depressing and regrettable ending, readers will be interested to find that with the infusion of Frederik's story into hers, there is a better and more hopeful conclusion to an otherwise sad tale. I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that Gregory Maguire himself drew the illustrations on this book. It adds a more personal touch, I think, to one's work of fiction when the author himself creates the visual aides that describes the scenes in his book. Looking forward to reading some more Gregory Maguire, in the near future. :)

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janie

    Dreckitude. Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, I went through a phase where I picked The Little Match Girl as the book for my dad to read to me every night. One night he told me 'I can't read you that book tonight. Pick another book.' When he told me this a couple of nights in a row, I demanded to know why he wouldn't read me my request. He said it was too sad for him to read all the time. He had cried when he'd read it to me before, so I knew he thought it was sad. I thought it was sad t Dreckitude. Once upon a time, when I was a little girl, I went through a phase where I picked The Little Match Girl as the book for my dad to read to me every night. One night he told me 'I can't read you that book tonight. Pick another book.' When he told me this a couple of nights in a row, I demanded to know why he wouldn't read me my request. He said it was too sad for him to read all the time. He had cried when he'd read it to me before, so I knew he thought it was sad. I thought it was sad too. It didn't occur to me to not read a story because it is sad. I don't know why, but I was surprised at this emotional maneuver -- the idea that you don't have to probe a sadness. You can let it rest. You can remove a sadness trigger to elect not to drown in a sorrow certainly large enough for drowning. But there are other ways of dealing with sad stories. One way is to pretend that a sad story is SECRETLY a HAPPY story. Enter Matchless. The Little Match Girl is not a happy story. The girl is penniless and cold and she dies. That's the story. Little girl dies cold and alone. The smoke and mirrors of Matchless don't change that.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Angel Gelique

    Grim, but good! Review to come....

  10. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Grigsby

    In the true spirit of Christmas tales, who can forget “The Little Match Girl” by Hans Christian Andersen? This retelling by Gregory Maguire is a riff on the original tale and (only) slightly more uplifting.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Alicia Miller

    This is a cute story, and I enjoyed how The Little Match Girl was retold. Something perfectly atmospheric for the Christmas season.

  12. 5 out of 5

    babyhippoface

    Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl is, without a single doubt, the most depressing "fairy tale". Ever. To quote Taylor Swift, "Like...EVER." (Sorry; I cant help it; I have a 15-year-old budding guitarist in my house.) Maguire expanded the original story in this tale written for NPR's radio audience. He apparently tried to inject a little hope into the situation. And by "a little hope" I mean, "the eensiest bit possible". The little match girl still has no name. She still freezes to d Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl is, without a single doubt, the most depressing "fairy tale". Ever. To quote Taylor Swift, "Like...EVER." (Sorry; I cant help it; I have a 15-year-old budding guitarist in my house.) Maguire expanded the original story in this tale written for NPR's radio audience. He apparently tried to inject a little hope into the situation. And by "a little hope" I mean, "the eensiest bit possible". The little match girl still has no name. She still freezes to death in the street. The details he chose to alter were inconsequential, so...why? But he went on to tell us about Frederik, who was, indirectly, partially responsible for LMG's death: he stole her shoe so his spool family could have a cradle. (Well, maybe not 'stole', but he found it and ran off without looking to see if anyone had lost it.) I think we are supposed to feel less bad about LMG's death because her ghostly matches return to guide Freddie to safety when he would otherwise have died tragically like she did. Didn't work. So this new version is minisculely less depressing (not even sure that's a word, but it fits) than the original. Here's my advice. You want a Christmas book? Go get The Best Christmas Pageant Ever and read it instead. Just trust me.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Molly

    Yeah... so, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was disappointed. The story of the little match girl has always been so sad, but beautiful. I don't know what I would call this. The match girl's father is supposed to be a brute- that's why she freezes to death rather than go home. That's, like, a huge driving force behind the story. But in this book, we're to gather that he's just misunderstood, and she was foolish for thinking that freezing to death was better than coming home without money Yeah... so, I'm not sure what I was expecting, but I was disappointed. The story of the little match girl has always been so sad, but beautiful. I don't know what I would call this. The match girl's father is supposed to be a brute- that's why she freezes to death rather than go home. That's, like, a huge driving force behind the story. But in this book, we're to gather that he's just misunderstood, and she was foolish for thinking that freezing to death was better than coming home without money? I don't know. Unimpressed.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jackie Jameson

    Sweet, easy read. Me thinks McGuire was just churning out stuff after the success of “Wicked” and could probably had his grocery list published. Aw well, ce la vie. Got it from the library so his coffers weren’t added to by moi. But I DO own the “Wicked” series including a first edition. Loved them LONG before the play. Coming to Vegas in September where I will be whoring myself on the sidewalk for a ticket. Ain’t life Grand!?!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    This is a nice, melancholic story which is available for free on the NPR website: http://www.npr.org/2008/12/25/9814317... I think I liked it so much because I really, really liked the original story. It continues to break my heart. However, this story is a lot more hopeful. This is a nice, melancholic story which is available for free on the NPR website: http://www.npr.org/2008/12/25/9814317... I think I liked it so much because I really, really liked the original story. It continues to break my heart. However, this story is a lot more hopeful.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    Retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson story of the Little Match Girl with some tweaks. You will either see this as a very grim story or perhaps a sad but uplifting story (spiritually). It is a Christmas tale and the author states in the epilogue that this story was meant for the spoken voice as it was originally read on NPR. I still enjoyed reading it but it was extremely short in length. I am glad I purchased it as a Kindle deal of the day rather than paying full price.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Redfox5

    A happier retelling of 'The Little Match Girl' although there is still an element of sadness. This was a quick an easy read. This would be a nice one to curl up with on Christmas eve. A happier retelling of 'The Little Match Girl' although there is still an element of sadness. This was a quick an easy read. This would be a nice one to curl up with on Christmas eve.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Mia

    I really like Gregory Maguire's writing and I doubt this is going to have me throw him out as an author, but I certainly am going to be wary of any shorter books he attempts now. His writing style is not made for quick pieces like this and this was an absolutely horrid retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl. I don't even know what possessed Maguire to create this story. The original is about an unnamed, poor girl who is too afraid to go home to her father without having ped I really like Gregory Maguire's writing and I doubt this is going to have me throw him out as an author, but I certainly am going to be wary of any shorter books he attempts now. His writing style is not made for quick pieces like this and this was an absolutely horrid retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Match Girl. I don't even know what possessed Maguire to create this story. The original is about an unnamed, poor girl who is too afraid to go home to her father without having peddled her matches, slipperless, and out in the freezing snow, because he'll beat her. It's not a cheerful tale, but it's an elegiac one that draws on the travesty that befalls poor children of the time. Matchless tells the story of Frederik, who lives in a house that seems pretty warm, where his biggest struggle is occasionally being left alone by an exhausted hard-working mother (one of the only images I did like was the Queen always stepping on her hem, so the mother who was a seamstress was always in work -- why they weren't living at the palace as live-in servants was beyond me, but I doubt they weren't making enough money to get by on). To add to this, the girl who freezes to death, does not get a name in this story, she doesn't get any added agency or anything -- the only change for her, is that her death is used to lift up Frederik's life and that of her father's (who isn't horrible after all? though she was so frightened of him that she froze to death rather than come home). It's really almost disturbing how much this story completely missed the point of the original tale and cheapened it. I'm usually a fan of Maguire taking his own twists and turns on a tale, but this was so out of the realm of the original that he should have left all references to the original alone.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Polley

    I read this book in about 10 minutes as it is formatted in the style of a childern's book with a picture on every page. However, it still managed to bring tears to my eyes by the end. It is based on the story of 'The Little Match Girl' but that is not something that I have read so I wasn't sure how I would find the book. It is the story of two poor children who do not know each other. Each one's hardship has brought them out on the frozen streets on Christmas Eve. Frederik finds a slipper that he I read this book in about 10 minutes as it is formatted in the style of a childern's book with a picture on every page. However, it still managed to bring tears to my eyes by the end. It is based on the story of 'The Little Match Girl' but that is not something that I have read so I wasn't sure how I would find the book. It is the story of two poor children who do not know each other. Each one's hardship has brought them out on the frozen streets on Christmas Eve. Frederik finds a slipper that he takes home but it belongs to a little girl who freezes to death that night. Frederik and his mother set out the next day to return the slipper but they find the girl's father crying over her frozen body. Frederik's mother and the girl's father fall in love and next Christmas Eve, Frederick also finds himself in some danger. However, the girl's spirit saves him. It's a really lovely and sad little book.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Martyn

    I loved The Little Match Girl as a child, and I still do. It has an ethereal sadness and beauty that will resonate with me for my whole life. This book, on the other hand, is a tactless pile of twee-pitude. Steer clear if you like your fairy tales to leave you with the sense of an awakening and to "mean" something. Hans is currently revolving at 45rpm in a grave in Copenhagen. I loved The Little Match Girl as a child, and I still do. It has an ethereal sadness and beauty that will resonate with me for my whole life. This book, on the other hand, is a tactless pile of twee-pitude. Steer clear if you like your fairy tales to leave you with the sense of an awakening and to "mean" something. Hans is currently revolving at 45rpm in a grave in Copenhagen.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Beth

    I listened to the author read this via NPR. Maybe it would've been better had I not, as I found Maguire's interpretation to be, well, kind of creepy. I listened to the author read this via NPR. Maybe it would've been better had I not, as I found Maguire's interpretation to be, well, kind of creepy.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    An interesting take on a timeless tale. I think I like the original better but this was a quick read for a snowy day and fits the spirit of the season.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    Short rewrite of The Little Matchgirl without the depth of sadness and bleakness present in the original. I was always moved as a child by this tale, but this version did not elicit a strong response in me.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Rose Lindgren

    Beautiful expansion and redemption of the little match girl story

  25. 4 out of 5

    Luisa Knight

    From the author of "Wicked" comes this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic "The little Match Girl." Well written, and full of meaning, this little Christmas story will warm your heart. A quick read and many illustrations for the children to look at. Ages: 6+ Cleanliness: Mentions grog. The word "bosom" is used to mean chest. Mentions ghosts (but it is a friendly spirit that is present). #christmas Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports gi From the author of "Wicked" comes this retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's classic "The little Match Girl." Well written, and full of meaning, this little Christmas story will warm your heart. A quick read and many illustrations for the children to look at. Ages: 6+ Cleanliness: Mentions grog. The word "bosom" is used to mean chest. Mentions ghosts (but it is a friendly spirit that is present). #christmas Like my reviews? I also have hundreds of detailed reports that I offer too. These reports give a complete break-down of everything in the book, so you'll know just how clean it is or isn't. I also have Clean Guides (downloadable PDFs) which enable you to clean up your book before reading it! Visit my website: The Book Radar.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Teri

    A short re-telling of the story of the Match Girl as only Gregory Maguire can do, the author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Beautiful illustrations. A short re-telling of the story of the Match Girl as only Gregory Maguire can do, the author of Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Beautiful illustrations.

  27. 5 out of 5

    David Edmonds

    I know, I know, it's a Christmas story and I'm reading it almost at the end of January. But, I did get chosen to read this from the October 09 LTER batch, and it just arrived in the mail two days ago, and I don't want to tarnish my LTER reviewing record by waiting until later this year to read and review the book. So, you'll just have to suffer on with a review of a Christmas story in late January. Or you can simply move on to the next post. Your choice. There's no pressure from me here. I want t I know, I know, it's a Christmas story and I'm reading it almost at the end of January. But, I did get chosen to read this from the October 09 LTER batch, and it just arrived in the mail two days ago, and I don't want to tarnish my LTER reviewing record by waiting until later this year to read and review the book. So, you'll just have to suffer on with a review of a Christmas story in late January. Or you can simply move on to the next post. Your choice. There's no pressure from me here. I want to like Gregory Maguire, I really do. Not so much the man, as I've never met him face to face so have no thoughts on him personally, but his writing. I mean, one of his books is the foundation for what I feel is one of the finest Broadway shows ever written, and one that I feels parallels my life on so many levels: Wicked. When I read his book Wicked for the first time, I had not seen the show yet. I had not even heard the soundtrack yet. The Wizard of Oz is one of my most cherished stories, and I was expecting something that would lead up to the beginning of Dorothy's time in Oz, and that is not what was delivered. I was fairly disappointed in the book, as it took so many elements of Oz and completely turned them on their side. Of course, that's the point, but it didn't make me happy. A friend says that I'm just too close to the original story of Oz to be able to appreciate any changes like that. Well, I listened to the soundtrack for the stage version of Wicked and really liked it, and felt a little more distance between myself and Maguire's book, but was trying to figure out how some of the songs fit in with the book so hadn't made a final decision yet. Finally, joy of joys, I experienced the stage production, and officially hated the book. While the stage production still keeps in basically the same theme of the book, it transcends the book on every level, and the story of friendship between Elphaba and Glinda and their time together and Elphaba's need to break away and become her own person spoke to my heart on so many levels that I cried through most of the production. And I'm not ashamed to say that I've cried again during each of the eight times that I've seen Wicked since. Long story short, I know I should like Maguire's writing, because so many friends of mine do, but based on that one reading experience with Wicked, I haven't dared pick up a book of his since. Which is where the LTER program came to my rescue with Matchless. I would be "forced" into reading another book from him and would be able to make another decision, and while Matchless isn't a full blown novel, it still gave me a little bit more respect for Maguire as an author. Matchelss is described as An Illumination of Hans Christian Andersen's Classic "The Little Match Girl", and it is. Maguire took Andersen's classic and one insignificant character (the urchin who picks up the little match girl's slipper) and creates a beautiful little story of family and forgiveness. Maguire tells us the story of that urchin, Frederik, and his mother, a seamstress to the queen. When Frederik finds the slipper in the street, he had no idea that it belonged to the poor match girl, and he takes it home to act as a boat for his toy family to be able to go and find a larger family, which it ends up doing on multiple levels for Frederik. I won't give anymore away except that the little match girl, in the end, forgives Frederik for taking her slipper and helps him find his own way back home. It is a charming little story that can be read in no time at all, but one that also helped me decide that maybe Maguire will be worth trying to read again, as this short, quaint tale was filled with so much heart and soul.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nikki in Niagara

    Reason for Reading: I have several of the author's books but haven't read any as of yet plus The Little Match Girl is one of my favourite fairy tales. Summary: The story of a young boy who lives with his widowed mother. They may be poor, but they have just enough to get by and that is enough for them. Their lives very briefly cross paths with a little match girl who dies in the night cold one evening. Then due to that crossed path they are brought together with her distraught family. Comments: A b Reason for Reading: I have several of the author's books but haven't read any as of yet plus The Little Match Girl is one of my favourite fairy tales. Summary: The story of a young boy who lives with his widowed mother. They may be poor, but they have just enough to get by and that is enough for them. Their lives very briefly cross paths with a little match girl who dies in the night cold one evening. Then due to that crossed path they are brought together with her distraught family. Comments: A bittersweet, little story that is really much more than a retelling of The Little Match Girl. Macguire uses Andersen's tale as a starting point to expand upon and from which to create his own tale. Chapter 2 of the book does retell Andersen's tale pretty much keeping to the original though he does make it clear that the little girl is hallucinating and it is her dead mother she sees at the end instead of her grandmother. Set in the past, in a time of horse and buggies, there is a sentimental ambiance that floats throughout the story. One feels that things are not going to go particularly well and after the death of the little girl any small act of joy becomes poignant. Macguire shows how the small things in life can (and maybe should) mean so much. As in the original tale there is that heavy feeling in the heart but there are bright moments and humour added by Frederick's mom. The fairy tale aspect comes into play when Frederick and his mom meet up with the little match girl's widowed father and two other young daughters and there is a special magical ending on Christmas Eve. At the very ending I think the book went one page too long, for I had just finished reading the end and felt happy with a sweet ending when I turned the page and one more sentence was written that I just didn't get. Perhaps it's just me, but I couldn't make sense of it, I turned back and re-read the second last page and for me that is where the story ends. A charming little story. Not for young children but more for adults and older children who don't mind a bittersweet story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nely

    Matchless is a “reillumination” of Hans Christian Andersen's story The Little Match Girl. This book was originally commissioned by NPR and read by Mr. Maguire on "All Things Considered" on Christmas day 2008. The story is told in four parts. In it we meet Frederik. Frederik and his mother live in a fishing village. They are poor - have very little food and only one match to help keep them warm. His mother is the queen's seamstress and is constantly being called to rescue the queen from her "iron Matchless is a “reillumination” of Hans Christian Andersen's story The Little Match Girl. This book was originally commissioned by NPR and read by Mr. Maguire on "All Things Considered" on Christmas day 2008. The story is told in four parts. In it we meet Frederik. Frederik and his mother live in a fishing village. They are poor - have very little food and only one match to help keep them warm. His mother is the queen's seamstress and is constantly being called to rescue the queen from her "iron foot" (or so his mother calls it, since she constantly steps on the hems of her dresses). Frederik has a vivid imagination and has found a way to entertain himself (while his mother is away) by making a small town out of cardboard boxes, broken bowls and even thread-less spools. This is his way of escaping the bleak reality of his life. One night while prowling the town for more items for his little town, his path crosses that of the little match girl. If you've read Hans Christian Andersen's tale then you know how that part of the story ends, but Mr. Maguire leads Frederik and you, as the reader, down a path that will have you believing in miracles, the permanence of spirit, and the continuity that links the living and the dead. Mr. Maguire did a fabulous job intertwining the story of The Little Match Girl (which he leaves mostly intact, except for some very minor details) and that of Frederik. The illustrations are all drawn by him - which alone were a treat. This very short (only 112 pages) story - brings the heartbreaking and desperate tale of The Little Match Girl and suffuses it with a bit of magic, yearning and warmth that will leave you feeling hopeful. This one should be read out loud and savored and, although a bit on the tragic side, it has a timeless feel to it. I wouldn't say I recommend it to everyone, but for fans of Gregory Maguire, Hans Christian Andersen, or those who like fairytale remakes, this is one you should pick up.

  30. 5 out of 5

    nil

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. As someone who grew up with the original "The Little Match Girl" or " Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne" by Hans Christian Anderson, I was initially excited to pick up this book. Unfortunately, the excitement did not match my ultimate enjoyment. The main character of the original story is ultimately relegated to plot device to further develop the story of the new main character, a boy named Frederik--a boy described as being one of God's simple. This characterization alone made me cringe, but I As someone who grew up with the original "The Little Match Girl" or " Den lille pige med svovlstikkerne" by Hans Christian Anderson, I was initially excited to pick up this book. Unfortunately, the excitement did not match my ultimate enjoyment. The main character of the original story is ultimately relegated to plot device to further develop the story of the new main character, a boy named Frederik--a boy described as being one of God's simple. This characterization alone made me cringe, but I suppose it is the only way that the story could support a young boy stealing a shoe from the street without thinking to pause for a moment to look for an owner (this is a bad characterization all around). Alas, upon returning home he finds that there is a key inside and so quite possibly becomes the reason why this little match girl freezes to death. I did not care for any of this. There is a melancholy but also a sort of mercy in the original tale. It speaks to Hans Christian Anderson's own sad voice as well as hearkens back to a time when ghost stories were told around Christmas fires as tradition. This version takes that story and strips it of the value it did have, and instead mixes form and imposes a fairy tale over the top of the poor match girl, effectively freezing her out for a second time. Merry Christmas! haha

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