Title: The Little Match Girl Strikes Back
Author: Emma Carroll
Illustrator: Lauren Child
Reviewer: Donna Dobson
“I realised that people, working together for a purpose, could also achieve magical, magnificent things” (p175).
Unlike the traditional little match girl, this match girl proves more than a ‘match’ for the Match Factory Tyrants.
A simple retelling of the classic tale, reveals the horrid and poisonous conditions that young girls and women were forced to work in to earn money to support their families. This story takes place in Victorian times and subtly reveals what life was like for the poor, with the focus on the unhealthy conditions of match factories. Bridie, the main character sells matches on the street, but unlike the original little match girl, she is a determined, indignant and quick-witted child. After an incident, she is left with three crooked matches. By striking each match, Bridie gets a glimpse of the future, and it is enough to give her the courage and strength to stand up for what she believes in. But she doesn’t stand alone.
This story is further supported by the artistic flair of Lauren Child, who’s red, black and white illustrations depicting Victorian life with authenticity, and break up the story nicely.
A fast-paced historical novel, with quirky illustrations, suitable for primary school-aged readers. The book encourages readers to fight for what they believe in, and it’s magical a group of people can achieve.