The Tinder Box (Penguin Little Black Classics #23) - Review


Having spent most of my adult life thinking Hans Christian Andersen was the least gruesome of the classic fairy-storytellers, reading this pocket-sized book was quite a revelation!

Within these six “children’s stories” we read of heads and feet being chopped off; princesses being kidnapped in their sleep; regicide, and of course the terrible fate of the brave tin soldier… Yet I thoroughly enjoyed the nostalgic foray into the literature of my youth, particularly as I found these tales presented in the manner by which a favourite relative relates the stories of their own experiences.

For me, The Tinder Box remains the most memorable of these six tales: imagining those dogs with eyes as big as teacups, saucers and mill-wheels sends me back to my childhood, reading the collections of classic, non-illustrated,  literature handed down from my mother, by torchlight under my quilt when I was supposed to be sleeping each night. The story I enjoyed the most though, is Little Claus and Big Claus: a cautionary tale of the dangers of one-upmanship (not to mention blind foolishness!). The hero of these tales, it seems, are wholly lacking in virtue.

I have many more Penguin Little Black Classics on my pile of “yet to be read” books, though I doubt many more will be as satisfying as The Tinder Box, but considering I could buy three of these for the cost of a coffee at my favourite cafe, why would I even complain?

Rating: 4.5/5 (based on my level of enjoyment and the fact that this little book cost only 80p!)

The Tinder Box (Penguin Little Black Classics) is available from all good booksellers.

Reviewed by: Literary Notes on 7th April 2015

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