Jessica's Reviews > Bigger than a Bread Box

Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder
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Jan 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: children, middle-grade, fiction, magical-realism
Read from January 14 to 16, 2012

I expected your run-of-the-mill fantasy story with this one. Girl finds magical bread box that gives her anything that she wishes for, so long as it fits in a bread box. It kind of sounds like Laurel Snyder came up with the title and wrote the story around it. But I was actually blown away by Bigger than a Bread Box, because every time I thought it was going to go that cliche route, it surprised me. In a good way.

Twelve-year-old Rebecca and her little brother are suddenly whisked away by their mother to Atlanta from their home in Baltimore, following their mother's seemingly rash decision to leave Rebecca's father. Rebecca, her mother and brother are living with their grandmother, who has a large bread box (does anyone know what a bread box is anymore??) collection. Rebecca discovers that one of the bread boxes can actually make anything appear in it that she wishes for, so long as it fits inside. She wishes for a thousand dollars, cool new clothes, an ipod, a cell phone, and all sorts of things that a twelve-year-old might want. But even though she wishes for things that remind her of home, like Tasty Kakes and gravy fries, she can't wish for what really matters... putting her family back together.

Unlike a lot of fantasy stories, Laurel Snyder considers the mechanics of the magic. When Rebecca wishes for these things, where do they come from? And it's not a situation where she has to choose between the magic or the big happy family, either. That would be unrealistic. (view spoiler) The interactions between Rebecca and her mother made me emotional. I didn't grow up knowing a lot of kids whose parents were divorced, but Snyder captures what it feels like for a kid to go through that. Even though Rebecca sees her mother leaving her father as completely one-sided (she thinks her dad is blameless), we catch glimpses through her perspective that her mother was, indeed, going through a lot. This is one of the best portrayals of separation that I've seen in a children's book, and that, not the fantasy stuff, was what I loved about it.

Grades 4-6
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01/15/2012 page 87
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