The Secret in the Matchbox (Picture Corgi)

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9780552525688: The Secret in the Matchbox (Picture Corgi)

Bobby Bell hides a secret in a matchbox, but things get out of hand when his teacher takes it away from him and the secret escapes

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From School Library Journal:

Kindergarten-Grade 3 When Bobby Bell's efforts to show the contents of his matchbox result in confiscation by the teacher, Bobby warns, ``She'll be sorry.'' The teacher can't resist a peek into the box and releases a tiny dragon which begins to grow. The children see the dragon, but Miss Potts is so preoccupied that she ignores children's warnings and doesn't look up until the dragon is huge and has set the wastebasket on fire. Bobby touches the dragon, making it shrink until it fits back into the matchbox. Willis writes in a deliberate, understated style, which lets suspense build nicely. The fact that the story is one of real magic rather than a dream makes it even more satisfying. The full-color illustrations feature a lively, multi-racial group of children. They complement the story well, humorously portraying the children with oversized eyes and some other exaggerated features which suit the unfolding drama. Interesting perspective is used to show both the growing size of the dragon and its effect on the class. Borders filled with fascinating little pictures of the children, teacher, dragon, and other animals doing silly, absurd things or reinforcing events of the story surround each page. A delightful and original story, perfect for reading aloud and for individual enjoyment. Jane Gardner Connor, formerly at South Carolina State Library, Columbia
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Publishers Weekly:

Bobby has a secret in his matchbox but no one at school is interested in knowing what it is. When Miss Potts confiscates the box, Bobby predicts troubleand he's right. A tiny dragon emerges from the matchbox and grows larger and more destructive, until it commands the attention of even the willfully oblivious Miss Potts ("Don't be silly," she tells one would-be informant, "I know there's a dragon on your page"). She finally implores Bobby to "Do something," so he touches the dragon, causing it to shrink, and puts it back in his matchbox, smiling a secret smile. This is an odd, rather unsettling story; there is little sense of triumph at the dragon's unleashing and Bobby's concomitant power; the terror of the children and teacher seems based more in mean-spirited humor than in comic exaggeration. Shelley's illustrations are distinctive, with borders that depict both classroom and other-worldly antics in surrealistic scenes; they constitute a promising artistic debut. Ages 3-up.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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