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Sally Gardner


The thing about growing up is that books lose their pictures. Not this one. This is a beautiful Young Adult book complete with illustrations in different shades of black, grey and white by David Roberts which capturethe atmosphere wonderfully. The story is based upon Hans Christian Anderson’s tale ‘The Tinderbox’ and Sally Gardner sets it at the time of The Thirty Years war when soldier Otto Hundebiss is given a pair of shoes and a set of dice as he embarks on a strange and mysterious new journey where he will have to face love and death. The people that Otto meets on his quest are brought to life with Roberts’ angular illustrations which sometimes cover an entire page as well as drawings that only cover up part of the page they are on.

The story deals with themes of rape, murder, betrayal and trauma. It is dark and much more gruesome than the original tale. Otto narrates the story and through his dreams, we slowly learn more about the events that haunt him and made him into the man he has become.

A spellbinding book which has to be bought – this is NOT a book for a Kindle, it is a book to treasure.