Unlike the Anderson tale, the book's heroine, Allumette, does not die a tragic death in the cold. Rather, she gets everything she has ever wished for -- and uses the power of that original wish to effect the betterment of society as a whole.
Ungerer's illustrations help form the world of Allumette, who lives in a dump surrounded by abandoned cars and playful rats. This stands in contrast with illustrations of the wealthy and powerful, shown pampered and with material possessions beyond rationality. Both in illustrative style and tone, the book is reminiscent of Maurice Sendak, particularly books such as In The Night Kitchen and We Are All in the Dumps with Jack and Guy.
Summer and winter, spring and fall,
Allumete dressed in rags.
She had no home. She had no parents.