Matchless: A Christmas Story was originally broadcast on (National Public Radio) NPR and was performed by Maguire, he also illustrates the book.
According to the inside flap NPR asks a writer to compose a Christmas themed story each year and in 2008 Maguire decided to re-tell Hans Christian Anderson’s The Little Match Girl. I had to refresh my memory on this story. It is a quick tale about a poor girl who is out selling matches to make money for her family. She is unable to sale matches and feels that she can’t return home without money. She sits down and attempts to keep warm by lighting the matches. At each strike of the match she sees wonderful visions including her grandmother who has passed away.
Maguire takes this story and adds the story of a little boy named Frederik who deeply wants a better life for his mother, a seamtress for the queen, and himself. They are without matches but have at least a bit of supper. Frederick has his own little secret tucked away in the attic. Their lives intertwine with that of the little match girl in a way that provides an uplifting message about hope and spirit. Perfect for Christmas time.