My book review of 'The Little Match Girl Strikes Back' by Emma Carroll and illustrated by Lauren Child
This is a brilliant book retelling the classic story through real-life events supported by wonderful, sensitive spot colour illustrations. It's a fabulous collaboration between these two award-winning talents and is a book to treasure.
Bridie is a young girl working hard to support her family by selling matches on the streets of Victorian London.
One day a succession of events leave Bridie with her stock destroyed - there are only three matches left. But Bridie wishes magic into the strike of each match. At first her dreams are selfish, but then she hopes for a wider, brighter future where she can right the wrongs in her family and community.
Bridie learns that she has the power within her to bring about change and leads the match factory workers out on strike.
This is a feminist reworking of the Hans Christian Anderson classic and it's brilliantly done, I think. The final pages of the book, after the story's conclusion, reveal the pictures and stories which inspired the author and illustrator - the real people who worked in the factories at the time, and their hardships and challenges.
It's also a beautifully produced book which is likely to be read and enjoyed time and again. Aimed at readers aged seven upwards.