Bigger Than a Breadbox
In Bigger Than a Bread Box, the month of November does not start with much that twelve-year-old Rebecca is thankful for. Months of her parents’ frequent arguments have led to Rebecca being told by her mother that they will be traveling to Atlanta to visit Rebecca’s grandmother. They will leave immediately with her little brother, Lew. Rebecca’s father is not invited on the trip.
After being welcomed into her grandmother’s house, Rebecca decides to explore and discovers an attic filled with dust-covered items. While searching, she finds a collection of bread boxes but nothing else very exciting. Rebecca wishes she had a book to read but with none around, she examines the bread boxes. When she looks in a shiny metal one, she discovers a book! She brings the beautiful breadbox to her room to examine further.
As Rebecca continues to live in Atlanta she pines more for home. She wishes to be back in Baltimore; she wishes her parents were back together; she even wishes to see the seagulls that… Her bread box starts moving and making noise so Rebecca opens it and out pop two seagulls. This is when she realizes that she has a magical item that grants any wish related to something smaller than a bread box. But what she mostly wants is much, much bigger. Is there a way to use the breadbox to get her family back together?
Before delving deeper into my commentary, watch this book trailer created by an awesomely creative twelve-year-old:
I enjoyed this novel immensely. The book opens with a very powerful image of Rebecca being taken from her father, who is starting to fall apart over the realization that his kids are not going to be in his life. Although this can be a tough event for children to have to read about, it’s something that some of them have gone through and will be able to relate to or they may go through and it will cause them to think about how they would react. The story also makes readers think about what they would do if given the opportunity to possess the magical breadbox that Rebecca discovers.
In this book, the characters really come to life due to the choices they make. Rebecca’s choice to start using the breadbox to get items that will increase her popularity at her new school really helped me see her as a real person. What tween (or adult) wouldn’t use this unexpected opportunity to gain social status? Of course, anyone thinking long and hard about the bread box would have to wonder where everything was coming from and once Rebecca does this, the answer to this question leads to further problems in her life. Rebecca doesn’t always make the “right” choice for getting rid of an issue of her own creation, and I liked seeing these flaws in her decision-making process.
The events that take place in the last quarter of the book really stood out to me because I did not see most of them turning out the way that they did, and the one I did predict caused me to want to yell at the pages as I turned them because I knew things would play out badly for Rebecca. I was pleasantly surprised by the turns in Miss Snyder’s plot because they kept the book situated in the real world due to things not always being tidied up cleanly in a nice package. Life is messy and hard, and Laurel Snyder does a great job of encapsulating this fact in her writing.
This is definitely one of those fantasy books where real problems are woven into the plot well. The problems Rebecca faces (making friends, dealing with a possible divorce, having a huge secret) are very applicable for most readers. With my attention captured by the story, I smiled when Rebecca realized she needed to provide support for her younger brother, and I cursed when something else went wrong in her life. I recommend this book to anyone looking to be ensnared by the magic of an old bread box and the wonders of a well-told story.
Pick up Bigger Than a Bread Box from your library, or purchase the newly released paperback version at an independent book store today!