Review of the Week

matchbox-diaryFleischman, Paul.  Matchbox Diary.  Bagram Ibatouilline, Illus.  Fic. Candlewick, 2013.[36]p. $16.99.  978-0-7636-4601-1.  OUTSTANDING.  GRADES 1-ADULT.

A grandfather meets his great-granddaughter for the first time. In his antique shop she brings him a cigar box filled with match boxes. Together they open those boxes, which are his “diary.” What unfolds is the story of his life in Italy; his coming to America on the boat; his family life in America—all triggered by a small object in a matchbox. With each object named, the accompanying illustration in soft sepia, resembling a photo graph, beautifully reflects the grandfather’s narrative. This is a magical book for all ages. Each perusal reveals another aspect of the man and his life in the simple text and the tender, loving pictures. Fascination aside, the matchbox brands are real brands; some are identified and the companies have given permission for reproduction in the book.

Martha Shogren, Independent

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