Though Ungerer never plays his sentimental cliches straight, he doesn't mock them so much as he wallows in their vulgarity. Here Andersen's match girl, worse off than ever in an age when everyone has lighters, lives on to help the needy through her own Matchless Light of the World Foundaation. And though none of this asks to be taken seriously, the illustrations make the fairy tale squalor and the immoderate wish-fulfillment insistently palpable. Asserting themselves like Allumette and her matches against solid black backgrounds, the pictures take you in as they lead you on. . .from the melodramatic prayerful pose of hungry Allumette. . .to the answer tumbling from the skies in a glut of turkey, hams, toys, TV, plumbing equipment, and "everything Allumette had ever, ever wished for". . .to a menacing army keeping order in the square when the city's poor converge on the bounty. . .to the bloody battle scene set in a later time when "Allumette's willing volunteers are everywhere doing their best." Essential Ungerer, calling for a grain of salt. . .and then rubbing it in.