Tinder is a retelling of the Hans Christian Anderson tale, The Tinderbox, told through the eyes of a soldier who walked away from the horrors of war. The original tale had a soldier too, but in true fairy tale fashion, I don’t think it lingered on his mental state too long and the dogs, now wolves, are turned into more complicated characters. It is also beautifully illustrated by David Roberts.

I wasn’t very familiar with the original tale, but even if you are I suspect you will still be surprised. Sally Gardner’s an excellent storyteller and it keeps the feeling of a folk tale, but with dark turns. It’s probably not for younger children (the first page has a pretty scary illustration for starters) but it will charm older children and adults alike.

The red cloak is a powerful symbol. With the wolf aspect, it may remind you of Little Red Riding Hood, but in my mind, it’s also the girl from Schindler’s List and the creepiness from Don’t Look Now. It really helps to have this illustrated in this case, as the colour is such a visual thing, especially against the greys. There’s one page which is just dripping with blood. And the illustrations are wonderful and creepy and make the book worthwhile even if you’re not that fussed about the story. Honestly, I wish more books were like this.

The illustrations speak for themselves don’t they? It’s a lovely gift for anyone with an interest in illustration or fairy tales. Or, you know, just buy it for yourself.

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Also reviewed @ A Dream of Books

Shelve next to: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

Book Source: Purchased