THE SECRET IN THE MATCHBOX by Val Willis
Kirkus Star

THE SECRET IN THE MATCHBOX

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

A wonderfully imaginative first book (for both its creators), with roots firmly in the English classroom where it takes place. Bobby Bell has a secret--something in a matchbox. When he shows it to Helen, she screams, and teacher Miss Potts confiscates the box without further investigation. Bobby knows there will be trouble--and there is. A tiny dragon appears and rapidly grows to full size, as more and more of his classmates observe with well-behaved astonishment; finally even Miss Potts is forced to notice what's going on--whereupon Bobby puts the dragon back in the box. Shelley's multiracial kids are hilariously wide-eyed and unflappable, the classroom an inventive combination of exaggerations seen from odd points of view, and the dragon fiercely traditional, in borders that succeed in being decorative while serving as a sort of Greek chorus, the characters plus a number of animals act out what the characters are feeling--or might prefer to be doing. Unique, diverting, a fantasy with a rare grasp of children's private imaginative worlds.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1988
Publisher: Farrar, Straus & Giroux