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Bigger than a Bread Box

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4.04 of 5 stars 4.04  ·  rating details  ·  2,692 ratings  ·  350 reviews
A magical breadbox that delivers whatever you wish for—as long as it fits inside? It's too good to be true! Twelve-year-old Rebecca is struggling with her parents' separation, as well as a sudden move to her Gran's house in another state. For a while, the magic bread box, discovered in the attic, makes life away from home a little easier. Then suddenly it starts to make th...more
Hardcover, 223 pages
Published September 27th 2011 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtA Monster Calls by Patrick NessWonderstruck by Brian SelznickDivergent by Veronica RothInside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
Newbery 2012
11th out of 167 books — 675 voters
Okay for Now by Gary D. SchmidtBigger than a Bread Box by Laurel SnyderWords in the Dust by Trent ReedyThe Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own M... by Catherynne M. ValenteBreadcrumbs by Anne Ursu
Middle Grade Novels of 2011
2nd out of 126 books — 146 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Laurel
Mar 06, 2014 Laurel added it  ·  (Review from the author)
Your parents can't solve all of your problems. Sometimes your parents cause all of your problems.

The same goes for magic!

This book (written by me, so I'm not exactly objective) attempts to weave together elements of a real childhood (mine) and amazing magic.

Because I still believe in both.

(Along with Baltimore, Springsteen, poetry, and seagulls. A few other things I believe in deeply)

Kate
As much as I loved PENNY DREADFUL, I think this is my favorite Laurel Snyder book yet. Heartbreaking, hopeful, and full of magic, it's the story of a girl whose life changes when the lights go out and her parents have one last argument before her mother loads the kids into the car and drives out of the state. When they land at her grandmother's house in Georgia, Rebecca has to deal not only with her parents' separation but also the angst of a sudden move, switching schools, and then...a magical...more
Donalyn
I have always loved fantasy books. I dream that I could teach at Hogwarts and own a dragon. When I was young, I dreamed about what I would wish for if I was granted three wishes. I knew all the pitfalls in those be-careful-what-you-wish-for plots, and I knew I could do it right.

My daydreams were fanciful, but what I wished for most would never come true. It was just as implausible as my flying carpet, magic wardrobe, make me invisible fantasies-- I wished my parents weren't divorced and that we...more
Laurel
Oct 18, 2012 Laurel added it  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I voiced this audio edition of my own recent novel, and it was an amazing experience. I cried while recording it. I wonder if you can tell where!
Monica!
I feel like I could have loved this book, if it weren’t for the magic.

Because with the magic, it was a little too much like… oh, like Half Magic, or any of those other classic “I’m going to use magic to fix the problems in my life only wait magic doesn’t solve my problems I have learned my lesson and now am if not happier at least more comfortable with myself” books that I greatly prefer.

For kids today, to be honest, they’d probably rather have Bigger than a Bread Box, since although Edward E...more
Wendy
This book is great, bigger than its plot, which means I'm going to find myself thinking about it often, and noticing different things on rereads. I don't know who to recommend it to, because it absolutely oozes pain. ("Oozes" isn't the right word, but I've spent enough time trying to think of the right word. "Wracked with" doesn't get across the feeling of pain coming out of the pages. But it's sharper than an ooze.) My parents never divorced, and I wonder if it might be too much for some of my...more
Cheryl Gatling
My husband picked this book up to read with our nine-year old daughter because we were fans of Laurel Snyder's Jewish-themed picture books (especially Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher). This book is not overtly Jewish (although the character of Rebecca Rose Shapiro is Jewish), but it is profoundly ethical. It is about stealing, about hurting and being hurt, about forgiveness, about identity, about who to be, and how to be. Rebecca's parents argue, and her mom leaves, taking Rebecca from B...more
Trudi

I was immediately drawn to this book for two reasons: the awesome cover art and the enticing premise. Both obviously appealed greatly to my inner child (who for once became enchanted by the possibility of whimsy, rather than the promise of something sinister). What can I say? My inner child bears a striking resemblance to this little dude:



This truly is a delightful romp of a story that shows wonderful imagination and great sensitivity. Rebecca is a sympathetic protagonist, at a point in her life...more
Megan
This story features twelve year old Rebecca as she struggles with her parents’ separation, her sense of self, and a magical wish-granting breadbox. Whew. Author Laurel Snyder very nearly pulls it off, too. Rebecca is smart, nerdy, and has a touch of immaturity and selfishness that makes her seem so much more authentic than most YA main characters. However, when everything is said and done, all of the various themes didn't really tie together. Or perhaps they did? Let me back up...

Rebecca's paren...more
Tripp
Rebecca Shapiro is 12, lives in Baltimore with her parents and younger brother Lew (2), and is working on her math homework when the lights blink off and her family comes apart. Within days, her mother has packed the car and driven herself and both kids to her mother's house in Atlanta, while she figures out her life. This sudden uprooting is disastrous for Rebecca, who is angry at her mother and at her own helplessness.

The only good thing--or so it seems at first--is a breadbox, one of many, f...more
paula
Our pick for the 2011 Newbery Award.

Reviewed by my friend Paula and her daughter:

ESP: So it’s a book about a magic bread box? Is that how you would describe it?
Not just about a magic bread box. It’s about school drama, family, and how unfair it is when adults make decisions for you that you don’t like.

ESP: How did the book make you feel when you were reading it?
I was excited and on edge! I couldn’t guess what was going to happen at all. She (Laurel Snyder) did a great job with the entire story....more
Hannah
Like PENNY DREADFUL before it, BIGGER THAN A BREADBOX has the charming old-fashioned feeling of middle-grade stories from the 60s, but with a contemporary bend. Rebecca's parents' sudden separation forces her to move to Gran's house, where she discovers a magical breadbox that seems to produce anything she wishes for from thin air. But as is always with wishes, something is amiss. This simple magic-realist story is really about a girl trying her best to deal with some of the toughest parts of gr...more
April
Be careful what you wish for definitely holds true for Rebecca, main character of Bigger Than A Bread Box by Laurel Snyder. Rebecca is uprooted from her Baltimore townhouse by her mother who decides to separate from her dad and live in Atlanta with Grandma. Rebecca doesn’t have an easy go of it as a new kid until she finds a magical bread box in the attic.

Read the rest of my review here
Rachel Seigel
There are so many things to love about this book. Rebecca is a likeable and realistic heroine, and I really enjoyed the fact that the book always stays centred on her story. She has a lot going on, but it's really up to her to figure out how to make things right. There are no fairy godmothers, and wishes don't just fix everything that's going wrong. This is a perfect book for a little girl, and would be a perfect choice for a mother-daughter book club.
Colby Sharp
I like Laurel Snyder's magic the best. The magic in this book reminded me a lot of her book Any Which Wall. She makes magic seem possible. I love how her characters have to figure out the magic-understand its rules and limitations.

This book is great on so many levels. I need to say more, but must take some time to process this amazing read. Can't think of a better book to end my summer with.

AWESOME!
katsok
Wowza, what a book. I remember on twitter months ago Laurel Snyder tweeting about this book. About a 12 year old girl, Rebecca, whose parents have separated. How she's fled to Atlanta with her mom, baby brother, to stay at her grandmother's house while her mom sorts it all out. I remember Laurel mentioning Baltimore, seagulls, and Bruce Springsteen. I remember thinking, this book would be good for my students, but I didn't realize how good.

Fifth grade tends to be an age where parents split up. I...more
Michael
When I approached Bigger than a Breadbox, I was hoping for a fun magical realism book, full of escapism. Instead, I got more realism than magic and it was an unpleasant reality as well.

The book is told in first person perspective of a teenage girl, Rebecca, whose parents are undergoing a painful separation. Her mother tears her from her Baltimore home and brings her to Atlanta to live with her grandmother for awhile. Rebecca experiences what is normal when someone gets uprooted from her home: lo...more
Mary Ann
The holidays can add a stress to anyone's life, but particularly for families coping with divorce. Change is hard for anyone, but particularly for children. I was particularly struck by Laurel Snyder's newest book, Bigger than a Bread Box, by how change can wrench a child from all her certainties. This is a wonderful book for kids who love realistic fiction, with a hint of fantasy.

Rebecca's life was suddenly torn apart when her parents reached a breaking point. One moment, their life in Baltimor...more
Janet
Mar 10, 2011 Janet rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of Judy Blume, Ray Bradbury; children of divorce/separation
Shelves: arc, review-ideas
Two of my favorite elements in books are a dose of magic and a smart, creative protagonist who is going through a rough time. (As a preteen and teen reader, I was a sucker for any books involving divorce or a parent's or sister's death--though I didn't have those particular problems as a kid, I loved these novels and would read them over and over again.)

For a few of my early adult years, I veered away from such books, issuing a blanket dismissal of "kids'" books and assuming that any adult books...more
Bethany
One Wednesday morning Rebecca wakes up, walks down the stairs and sees her mother, packing. Her father is watching, sad and silent, and then Rebecca, her baby brother Lew, and her mother get in the car and leave. They drive all the way to Atlanta, to live with Gran, and Rebecca's doesn't talk to her mother the entire trip. Atlanta is...it's not awful, but Rebecca's sad and shocked and angry; and then Rebecca finds the bread box. It's just a tin box, red with roses painted on it, but when Rebecca...more
Julie
I can't think of the last time I was so tense reading a book, as I was reading the first half of Bigger than a Bread Box. I could barely sit still. So much foreboding, so much foreshadowing, that I just knew something big was going to go down. And when it did, when I saw it coming, I had to skim the chapter just to get a handle on it, before I went back and read it properly. Then I could breathe again for the second half until WHAM suddenly a huge surprise sprung up that I completely hadn't been...more
Tara Hall
This is the best kind of middle grade book. It draws you in with a lovable main character and intriguing magic, and then sucker punches you with emotional intensity and important life lessons. The magic of the bread box is extremely understated. I might not even call it magic for the most part. And the truth behind its tricks makes up the core of the story. Around that core are heartfelt, honest discussions of how divorce can affect kids and families, as well a painful portrayal of bullying.

It'...more
Susan P
Rebecca's parents are fighting. Again. But this time, her mom packs the car and takes Rebecca and her little brother to Atlanta to stay with their maternal grandmother. Rebecca misses her dad terrible, and doesn't like her new school at all. Seeing an opportunity to reinvent herself, she tries to do this, but it doesn't work out as well as she'd hoped. Meanwhile, in Gran's attic, Rebecca finds a mysterious box that appears to grant wishes. But how can a wish fix her parents' marriage?

A great por...more
Deborah
May 27, 2014 Deborah added it
Shelves: middle-grade
It's impossible to talk about the power of this book without giving it away, so I'll just say this: it's about much more than just divorce and a magic breadbox.
Joshua
A very character-driven magical realistic fiction book, that creates a vivid character, but could benefit at times from a little more action... Sad, real, wistful... As of page 145...

After completion I liked it, except the ending seemed a bitabrupt... After building up a few of the characters in the new school, all of a sudden another big change happens... Also the dad, and for that matter the mom never feel like rounded characters in the same way as becca...

Still a very good read about a kid de...more
Beverly
Aug 03, 2014 Beverly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 10-13
Recommended to Beverly by: Oregon Assoc. of School Libraries Battle of the Books 2013-14
Bigger Than A Bread Box is another in the new wave of novels that blur the lines between genres. In this case, it is a combination folk tale and realistic fiction, and it succeeds in both genres. Rebecca is furious that her mother has left her father and dragged her hundreds of miles away from her home and friends. She is determined to be miserable, and make everyone around her miserable, until her mother lets her go home. When she is exploring in her grandmother's attic and finds a box that gra...more
Zhiyin Jin
What’s inside the breadbox? With an anxious-looking girl on the cover, you will be eager to figure out what is in the breadbox and this book. I am amazed at how vividly but subtly the author describes the feeling and emotions of Rebecca, the girl on the cover. I can see the little girl standing in front of me struggling with all the issues in her life. Probably not every teenager will face those problems in their life. It is partly because not everyone will have an unusual breadbox.

I would like...more
Laura5
Passages I highlighted in the ebook:

"It's funny, Rebecca, how badly moms need presents. They do a lot they never get thanked for, so little things become big things. Presents matter" pg 68

"But sometimes it doesn't matter whether someone is right or wrong. Sometimes you just have to love them when they need you." pg 69

Laurel Snyder's description of the book in the author's note: "A middle grade book about Bruce Springsteen songs and seagulls and divorce and a magical bread box"

Trinity B.
So sad then so dramatic then sad again. I LOVED IT
Kris
Very believable narrator and child voice. Believable choices that she made, based on the magic that she was dealing with, although I'm unsure about her choice at the end--I do think she'd probably keep the breadbox. Voice felt a bit older to me at that point, though. A very strong book, and I wish I'd read it earlier--would've been a good book to discuss with our Newbery groups.
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Laurel Snyder is the author of five children's novels, "Seven Stories Up," "Bigger than a Bread Box," "Penny Dreadful," "Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains OR The Search for a Suitable Princess" and "Any Which Wall" (Random House) as well as six picture books, "Nosh, Schlep, Schluff," "Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher," "The Longest Night," "Camp Wonderful Wild," "Good night, laila tov," an...more
More about Laurel Snyder...
Penny Dreadful Any Which Wall Seven Stories Up Up and Down the Scratchy Mountains Baxter, the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher

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“But sometimes it doesn't matter whether someone is right or wrong. Sometimes you just have to love them when they need you.” 3 likes
“It's hard not to be happy when you're eating a big steak.” 2 likes
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