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The Little Match Girl Hardcover – September 21, 1987

4.3 out of 5 stars 91 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Andersen's tale about a little girl who's afraid to go home because she hasn't sold enough matches is a classic. The little girl, bareheaded and barefoot, curls up in a corner, lighting match after match to warm herself. In the flames she sees visions; in the final one, her grandmother appears and lifts the little girl into heaven. With muted blues, grays and browns, Isadora captures the mood of a snowy Victorian winter reminiscent of Dickens's A Christmas Carol. With these illustrations, coupled with superb book design, the artist has surpassed even the splendid art in her previous books. Ages 4-8.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Kindergarten-Grade 4-As he did with The Ugly Duckling (Morrow, 1999), Pinkney has adapted and interpreted one of Andersen's classic tales with gorgeous watercolor illustrations. The artist conveys the details of this New Year's Eve story so splendidly that readers may not realize that the little girl is dying. The sumptuous sights she imagines once she begins striking her matches for warmth are a stark contrast to the freezing child, and readers may well be relieved when they see her being carried off by her grandmother to God. Pinkney's Match Girl is set in urban America in the 1920s; the child's ethnic heritage is nonspecific. There aren't too many versions of this somewhat maudlin tale available-if you need one, this is the one to buy.
Lisa Falk, Los Angeles Public Library
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Juvenile; Library Binding edition (September 21, 1987)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399213368
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399213366
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 0.4 x 10.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,241,980 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I first read this story during Christmas week of my 5th Christmas. My mother found it in its entirety in a Christmas magazine and I read it.

An unnamed girl is sent out into the cold by her abusive father to sell matches. He beats her whenever she fails to bring in a satisfactory income for her work.

One night, after a day of no sales, the child, frozen to the bone, lights a match. A glorious vision of a Christmas tree appears. The vision fades away when the match burns out. The second match the girl lights shows a Christmas feast. This feast of illusions dies too, with the match.

The third time she lights a match, her beloved, deceased grandmother appears. The girl runs to her, never to return to the cold again. The next morning she is found frozen to death in the snow.

This story gets to me 100% of the time. To this day it makes me get misty eyed. It is truly the saddest holiday story I have ever come across.
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Format: Audio Cassette
Everyone need to hear this. Even if you find afterwards you can't breathe for a moment, and you find yourself stumbling in a haze of tears and grief. I don't think that we were ever told that we would be spared such things if they would bring good.
The whole point of this story is to bring the searchlight of compassion and charity into the heart. Too often we tend to think ourselves poor. In Andersons day we would all be considered rich compared with most of those about. And fortunate. We are enlightened enough (at least in Britain) to help people with no jobs and who don't quite know what to do next.
This is quite a stern message and a wake up call to everyone. Perhaps it is the very sternest message which can be given to some people. It is very, very sad, but you have to remember that the girl does reach paradise, as do many every day, and if this is too sad, then, well, there is no answer beyond the consolations of heaven.
The story speaks much about the sanctity of human life on earth, and I suspect that this will become a more pointed message in the Western World as time goes on this century. If death happens in this way, if there is ANY possibility of this happening in your city (there is in the one I am in, but small), we should be listening to Christ:
"I was hungry and you gave me no meat, thirsty and you gave me no drink, naked, and ye clothed me not, sick.. and in prison.. and ye visited me not..."
We .. I .. should be there, aware that once the beggars were once little boys and girls, who have now grown old. SOme have lost their parents, some have lost other things, but they should not be forgotten. This winter it might be very cold.
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Format: Hardcover
"The Little Match Girl" by Hans Christen Andersen was the first book I read as a child that affected me profoundly. I was able to make a personal connection to the text because I too was a young girl who was impoverished at the time. I knew what it felt like to be cold and hungry and I related immediately to the main character.

I came away from reading this book with empathy, sympathy, and knowing the truth: Not everyone has been blessed with having their basic needs met. In addition, I experienced a great joy when her grandmother takes her up to heaven to a better comforting place.

I came away with the concept that death was not something to be feared or a bad thing, but something that might be comforting and
positive. I have always loved this book. Because even as a child who was struggling I too had many things to be thankful for in comparison to what the little match girl had. The underlying message is powerful and real.
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Format: Hardcover
This fairy tale is a favorite from my childhood. It is a classic story of a little girl who is alone, poor, cold, hungry and afraid to return home becasue she has sold no matches. As she is freezing to death, she lights the matches to keep warm. As she lights them, she sees all the lovely scenes of life that she has missed...Finally she sees her loving grandmother who takes her to Heaven. The story's deeper meaning is that there are things worse than death, and with the little girl's death, she is no longer hungry, cold and unloved.
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A Kid's Review on March 14, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This book is very sad, but it has beautiful pictures. It can make young children cry at some times. This girl had to sell matches, and if she didn't she couldn't go home because her father would beat her. It took place at Christmas time, so it was very, very cold. The little girl sat between two houses and lit a match. The first match lit up a big iron stove. The next match revealed a beautiful Christmas dinner. The last one revealed a beautiful Christmas tree. This story is one of my favorite stories because it has beautiful drawings and it teaches you a lesson. The lesson is that some people don't have it as good as you so you should always help them.
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Format: Library Binding
This review is of the edition illustrated by Blair Lent.

The Little Match Girl is a classic fairy tale about a little girl trying to sell matches to earn money for her family on New Year's Eve. She is unable to sell any and she is afraid that she will get a beating if she returns home with no money. She crouches in a corner by a building and burns the matches to keep warm. As she burns each match, she sees visions of a New Year's Eve dinner, a beautiful Christmas tree, and her late grandmother. She burns all of the matches in an attempt to keep her grandmother with her and she is then carried up to heaven by her grandmother. The little girl is found frozen to death the next morning with the pile of burned out matches.

This book might be enjoyed by children ages 8 and 9 who are beginning to develop a sense of empathy and to question death. Parents might want to read this book with their children around the holidays to teach them the importance of thinking of others and appreciating what they have. The concepts of poverty, child abuse, and death may be too disturbing for some children, however. The dark quality of the black-ink drawings reflect the sadness of the story, while the limited color representing the little girl's visions highlights the small amount of joy the she was able to experience at the end of her life. In addition, the straight lines of the European buildings and steps seem to symbolize the little girl's matchsticks.
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