Matchless: A Christmas Story

Matchless: A Christmas Story

3.3 16
by Gregory Maguire
     
 

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The beloved author of Wicked reimagines Hans Christian Andersen's classic story "The Little Match Girl" for modern readers in this charming, beautifully illustrated gift book

Each year, National Public Radio asks a writer to compose a story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire offered a new twist on a classic tale

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Overview

The beloved author of Wicked reimagines Hans Christian Andersen's classic story "The Little Match Girl" for modern readers in this charming, beautifully illustrated gift book

Each year, National Public Radio asks a writer to compose a story with a Christmas theme. In 2008, Gregory Maguire offered a new twist on a classic tale, reinventing the Hans Christian Andersen classic "The Little Match Girl."

When the story was first translated from Danish and published in England in the mid-nineteenth century, the match girl's dying visions of lights and a grandmother in heaven were often interpreted as metaphors of religious salvation. In Matchless, Maguire adds a different dimension to the story, intertwining the match girl's tale with that of a young boy, Frederik, whose own yearnings are the catalyst for a better future for himself and his family. Maguire uses 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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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Leona Illig
In this adaptation of Hans Christian Anderson's classic The Little Match Girl, a young boy named Frederik longs for something better for his mother and himself. Money is scarce, and life is hard. Frederik is able to find happiness only in the attic, where he has constructed a toy town. However, his life changes when he finds the little match girl's lost slipper, which contains a key and an address. Soon, he and his mother meet the girl's family. His mother marries the girl's father, and the two families are joined together in a happier life. In the climax, Frederik is guided home on Christmas Eve through fog and high water by mysterious lights, reminiscent of the matches sold by the little match girl. In 2008, National Public Radio asked Gregory Maguire to compose a story with a Christmas theme, and this is the result. Penned for the airwaves as it was, the author notes that the story was originally written to be read aloud. These constraints may have contributed to some problems with the story. In addition to the difficulty of improving on Anderson's original tale (the need to provide a "happier spin" on the original, for the sake of modern audiences, seems questionable), the new book is hard to categorize. Since it was written to be read aloud, it should fall into the picture book category. The story, however, is long (112 pages), and the pictures are line-drawn in black and white, a radical departure from modern picture book illustrations. Because it is so text-heavy, it might be considered a chapter book or a middle-grade novel, but it is doubtful that children would be able to access the rather difficult language and style (the type font also is not what young readers areaccustomed to). It should be noted that the copy reviewed here was an uncorrected proof galley, and changes may have been made in the final version which would resolve some of these problems. Reviewer: Leona Illig
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Huntsville Times
“The little match girl’s story is now getting its due thanks to novelist Gregory Maguire of ‘Wicked’ fame…. Matchless glows with aching beauty.”
Ellen Trachtenberg
“Maguire’s story has the weight and solidity of a treasured folk tale, something to be handed down and retold.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061965975
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
10/27/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
112
Sales rank:
328,147
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Gregory Maguire is the New York Times bestselling author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Lost; Mirror Mirror; and the Wicked Years, a series that includes Wicked, Son of a Witch, A Lion Among Men, and Out of Oz. Now a beloved classic, Wicked is the basis for a blockbuster Tony Award–winning Broadway musical. Maguire has lectured on art, literature, and culture both at home and abroad. He lives with his family near Boston, Massachusetts.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Boston, Massachusetts
Date of Birth:
June 9, 1954
Place of Birth:
Albany, New York
Education:
B.A., SUNY at Albany, 1976; M.A., Simmons College, 1978; Ph.D., Tufts University, 1990
Website:
http://www.gregorymaguire.com

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Matchless: A Christmas Story 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Mortizmo More than 1 year ago
I wish I had known that this was a children's book before I purchased or I would never have done so - I read the enitre book in less than ten minutes. It was definitely not worth the $20 dollars I paid and I would have returned it if I could - I don't even want it in my library.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read and thoroughly enjoyed Gregory Maguire's last six books from "Wicked" to "A Lion Among Men", so I was expecting something on the same order when I ordered "Matchless". To my surprise and dismay it turned out to be a miniature "book" (8"x5") of approximately fifty pages. Only half of those pages have print ranging from two paragraphs to a single sentence. The other half of the pages are used for crude illustrations. Essentially, this is a short story marketed in a hard bound book. My overall impression is that this is simply a "rip-off".
iCarlyGleek More than 1 year ago
I read this book in about 10 minutes, but loved every minute. Great book and I highly recommend it!
pegasus8 More than 1 year ago
After reading various negative reviews of Wicked, also, by the same author, I was not sure if I wanted to read this book. However, I was so captivated by the description of the book, and the charming illustrations; I decided to purchase it. A short book that is wonderful. It is based on The Little Match Girl story; giving it a different twist. I recommend it to all fans of fairy tales, Christmas stories, and Gregory Maguire.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how Gregory Maguire takes a classic childhood story, rewrites it from the viewpoint of another character, and tells what happened on the flip side of the coin. Matchless is the retelling of The Little Match Girl. It is a very quick read and I loved it. If you've never read any of this author's books this would be a good one to start with because it gives you a taste of his writing style, but it's short enough that if you don't like it you aren't committed to a novel sized book.
basson_mommy12 More than 1 year ago
This story by Hans Christian Andersen is set as a Christmas tale of sadness and hope. Make it a holiday tradition to read it aloud to your family.
Hoolihan More than 1 year ago
Paid 8.99 and only 23 pages long, half of the pages were pictures and the other half only had like a paragragh on each page. Highly dissappointed!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love the author but this book is a joke. It is 27 pages and most pages contain only one paragraph or art. I can't believe the Nook would sell this book for $9. I would return it if i could. Shame on them.
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sweetcatastropheAS More than 1 year ago
Quick and easy read. Perfect for the holiday season. For those who have lots to do during the season, but still want to keep up their reading, this book is great. It's not super detailed, so if you need to jump out of it, you'll be able to pick up where you left off easily. Recommended highly!