Bigger than a Bread Box

( 13 )

Overview

A magical breadbox that delivers whatever you wish for—as long as it fits inside? It's too good to be true! Twelve-year-old Rebecca is struggling with her parents' separation, as well as a sudden move to her Gran's house in another state. For a while, the magic bread box, discovered in the attic, makes life away from home a little easier. Then suddenly it starts to make things much, much more difficult, and Rebecca is forced to decide not just where, but who she really wants to be. Laurel Snyder's most ...

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Bigger than a Bread Box

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Overview

A magical breadbox that delivers whatever you wish for—as long as it fits inside? It's too good to be true! Twelve-year-old Rebecca is struggling with her parents' separation, as well as a sudden move to her Gran's house in another state. For a while, the magic bread box, discovered in the attic, makes life away from home a little easier. Then suddenly it starts to make things much, much more difficult, and Rebecca is forced to decide not just where, but who she really wants to be. Laurel Snyder's most thought-provoking book yet.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
"Everything felt wrong, lopsided. I knew from the weird fuzzy humming inside my head," thinks 12-year-old Rebecca Shapiro as her family ruptures before her eyes. Rebecca's father has been out of work, and her mother is fed up; after a big fight with her husband, she packs up the children and drives from Baltimore to Atlanta to visit Rebecca and Lew's grandmother. When Rebecca discovers this isn't just a quick visit (her mother has a temp job for herself lined up and a new school picked out for Rebecca), she's furious. One day while exploring her grandmother's attic, Rebecca finds a magic breadbox that will grant any wish that fits inside it: a cookie, money, pens, lip-gloss, candy, or a diamond. But Rebecca comes to understand that the box won't solve her problems (conversely, it creates some enormous ones); she has to do that on her own. Introspective and rich with delicate imagery, this coming-of-age tale shares themes with Snyder's Penny Dreadful (2010). The insightful, memorable, and complex characters that Snyder creates result in a story with the same qualities. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Krisan Murphy
Twelve-year-old Rebecca has the bad fortune of witnessing the break-up and separation of her parents. As if that's not bad enough, she also receives the ironic curse of having her wishes come true. In this realistic fantasy Rebecca discovers a bread box in her grandmother's attic which produces objects of her wishing—a book, one thousand dollars in crumbled bills, candy, french fries, a silver spoon, and much more. When it finally occurs to Rebecca where the items have come from, she is in deep trouble. She digs a deeper hole trying to escape all the wished for items that are no bigger than a bread box. Aside from the magical box, this story captures realistic emotions of children, estranged parents, and grandparents detailing with a shattered home. The author also gives insight into the social dynamics of a middle school girl who is a newcomer to a school and the stress of finding her identity. This book may be helpful to readers experiencing the traumas of a broken home. Reviewer: Krisan Murphy
School Library Journal
Gr 4–6—Rebecca's parents have been struggling to get along. Suddenly, Mom packs up 12-year-old Rebecca and toddler Lew to drive to Atlanta to stay with her mother. Rebecca is furious and misses her friends, school, and, most of all, her dad. In the attic, she discovers a bread box, at the same time missing the gulls in Baltimore and wishing there were some in Atlanta. She looks inside to find that two birds have appeared. She soon figures out that wishes that can fit in the box magically materialize, but those that can't, such as going home or getting her parents back together, are not granted. As often happens with wishes, things go awry; all of the items she has wished for-money, an iPod, a birthday gift for her mother-belonged to someone else and she is accused of stealing. Snyder weaves in her magic without letting it take over and become the focus. Rebecca's choices are not always understandable, but her heartache is. The slightly over-the-top resolution will be both scary and satisfying to readers. This is solid fiction for the elementary crowd. It doesn't rely on one-dimensional bad guys and doesn't let readers think that the good guys are flawless.—Carol A. Edwards, Denver Public Library, CO
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780375873256
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/11/2012
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 158,714
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.40 (w) x 5.20 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

LAUREL SNYDER is the author of many books for kids, including Penny Dreadful, Any Which Wall, and Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains. A native of Baltimore, she now resides happily in Atlanta with her husband, Chris, their two small sons, and a cat and dog who get along admirably because they are exactly the same size. Laurel has recently begun a collection of vintage bread boxes. Visit her online at www.LaurelSnyder.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I was in the dining room part of the kitchen doing my math homework at the table when the lights suddenly blinked off. Everything else in the house stopped working too. The numbers on the microwave’s clock disappeared. The fridge stopped making the wheezy noise it usually makes.

Then my mom, over in the living room, started picking on my dad for no good reason. As far as I could tell, he was just sitting on the couch, drinking a beer and watching TV, like he usually does after dinner. “Winding down,” he calls it. Ever since he wrecked his cab, he’s been winding down a lot. But the accident wasn’t his fault, and he’ll get another job soon. He always does. He’s just taking a break for a little while.

Anyway, I couldn’t see either of them because of the lights being off, but I could hear everything they said. There weren’t doors or walls between the downstairs rooms in our row house. The flooring just changed color every ten feet or so. You knew you were out of the kitchen/dining room and into the living room when the fake-brick linoleum stopped and the pale blue carpet started. Then you were out of the living room and into the front room when the blue carpet changed to brown. That was how a lot of row houses were in Baltimore, like tunnels.

So, really, we were all in one long, dark room together when Mom snapped, “Jim! You didn’t pay the power bill again?”

Dad didn’t answer her. He does that sometimes, tunes out, though I can never tell if he’s daydreaming or just pretending not to hear her. She kept going on about how she was “sick of it all.” She said she was too tired to even talk about it anymore, but then she kept talking. She called him selfish. She said he was a child. She went on and on, and none of it made much sense to me. It was just a big list of angry. Her voice got madder and louder until at last she was yelling when she said, “If you can’t handle the bills right now, could you maybe at least handle the dishes?”

Even though it was pitch-black in the room, I squeezed my eyes shut. I laid my head on the table, on my math book.

She stopped yelling and got quiet. Everything was dark and quiet when she said, in a smaller voice, “I’m sorry, Jim,” and “I hate this,” and “I love you, but . . .”

I squeezed my eyes tighter.

Then Mom started crying.

I just sat in the dark dining area with my head on my book. Partly because I absolutely didn’t want to go in there, but also partly because it was so dark I was afraid I’d trip over a chair or something. I just sat, hunched over. I smelled the musty paper of the math book and listened to Mom cry. It was hardly the first time they’d had a fight in front of me, but things didn’t usually get so bad.

After a while, Mom stopped and kind of whispered, “You know, Jim? I could do this . . . just as easily . . . without you.”

There was a pause after that; then Dad said, really, really softly, “Oh . . . could you?”

Mom sucked in a quick breath, like it hurt her, and she said, “Yeah. Easier even.”

Dad sat there, I guess, doing nothing. That was what it sounded like. It sounded like nothing.

Mom took another breath, a slow one this time, and asked, “Did you hear what I said? Did you hear me? Aren’t you going to say anything?”

I opened my eyes. She sounded calm, too calm. Something was really wrong.

Dad, not yelling or crying—because he pretty much never yells or cries—said, “What do you want me to say, Annie?” He sounded grim. He was talking through his teeth. I heard him take a big wet sip of his beer before he said, “You think I like the way things are any better than you?”

She didn’t answer him.

I couldn’t stand it after that. It was totally dark and quiet. I’d never been anywhere so still as that room. It was like I was waiting in the back of a closet, sitting on lumpy shoes. Only there was no door to open, nothing I could do to get out. I’d never listened so carefully to something I didn’t want to hear.

Then two things happened at the same exact time.

The lights came back on.

And upstairs, in his room, my little brother, Lew, started crying.

“Mama?” he was saying. “Daddy?”

I looked over into the living room. With the lights back on, I could see everything clearly again. My parents were just frozen there, like statues. Lew kept crying.

I stood up. I made myself walk. I kept my eyes on my feet. Even so, out of the corner of my eye I could see Mom leaning against the side of the recliner, still wearing her blue scrubs from work, her arms limp and her face all wet. Dad was sitting on the couch, staring past her at the blank TV. He looked sad too, but also, weirdly, he looked a little like he wanted to smile. I guess maybe that was because now everyone knew he had paid the power bill.

I didn’t say anything to either of them, and they didn’t say anything to me. I walked as fast as I could through the living room and headed up the stairs to Lew. Poor kid. He wasn’t even three years old yet. He had no idea what was going on.

When I got upstairs, Lew was in his crib, holding the bars really tight. His face was red, but when he saw me, he stopped crying. I lifted him out. He can climb out himself, but he doesn’t usually do it. We sat on the floor, and I held him and rocked while he sucked his thumb. He smelled like dirty hair and peanut butter. I thought about singing a song but didn’t. Eventually, he fell back asleep in my lap, and I laid him on the floor, because I knew I’d wake him up putting him into his crib. My arms aren’t long enough, so I always have to drop him the last foot, deadweight, and he wakes up. Instead I just covered him with a blanket.

That was near the end of October.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 13 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 21, 2012

    Excitement

    Makes you want to keep reading it!!!!

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2012

    ;)

    LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BEST BOOK EVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    (309 exclamation points! Totally reccomend this book for all ages.)

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    Great

    This book is a surprisingly great book. It is also very touching and sad.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 20, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Surprises and fun!

    Bigger Than a Bread Box was about a girl named Rebecca. Her parents got divorced, and Rebecca was forced to come live with her mom and Gran in Atlanta. While staying there Rebecca notices a very shiny, beautiful bread box in her Gran’s attic. This bread box wasn’t an ordinary bread box it was magical. There was one rule; Rebecca could wish for anything but, it had to fit in the bread box. What she didn’t realize is that the bread box doesn’t just make wishes appear, it only takes stuff from people and gives it to her. When Rebecca realizes this she tries to return the stuff she wished for. When she tries she gets into a big mess. Yet Rebecca ends up bringing her family back together.

    I do think other kids will enjoy this book because it has surprises and is funny at times. This book also describes things very well.

    One of my favorite parts was when Rebecca first wished for a sea gull, and heard a loud screeeee from inside the bread box. This made me smile. I think this book is special because I never read anything like it. I also think this book was so special because it really made me feel as if I was part of the story.

    Review by Young Mensan Megan M., age 11, North Texas Mensa

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 28, 2012

    LOVE

    It is sooo good!!!!!!!!!!!##

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    ;)

    Yay book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2012

    Great book

    ILOVED THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012

    Me

    My librarian recommended this book to me and i loved it great read

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 11, 2014

    Great book

    I got it from my school library. It is a great book. It's also sad too. Very interesting and cool book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 8, 2013

    Awesome book!(spoiler alert)

    I feel bad for rebeca when the girls are being mean because they think she stole hannah's jacket. She didn't know. She was excited to show her friends and then all of a sudden they are mad.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2013

    Perfection and Relatable

    Loveeee this book so much

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 25, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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