Tom Smart, Deseret News
“ONE LITTLE MATCH,” by Thomas S. Monson, illustrated by Dan Burr, Shadow Mountain, $17.99
At the age of 8, President Thomas S. Monson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, learned an important lesson in obedience that is shared in the picture book "One Little Match," illustrated by Dan Burr.
He and his family spent the last part of the summer at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon. Young Tommy Monson and his friend, Danny Larson, spent their days roaming this “children’s paradise” to fish or collect rocks or treasures or hike the trails.
Then there was that day they decided to clear an area for a campfire.
The weeds were tall and stubborn, and the boys’ enthusiasm quickly waned. But if they got a match, they could burn the area, but they needed it cleared.
President Monson is clear to say that his parents had warned him about playing with matches, and he didn’t have permission to use them without an adult.
Young Tommy hid a few matches in his pocket.
“I recall thinking that the fire would burn only as far as we wanted and then would somehow magically extinguish itself,” recalls President Monson in the book based on his April 2013 general conference talk titled “Obedience Brings Blessings.”
Young Tommy learned that day that isn’t how fire behaves, as the fire from that tiny match burned out of control. It took several hours for the fire to be put out.
And he learned several lessons that day, one of which was simple yet important: “If only I had acted differently in that one little second and never picked up even one little match.”
Burr’s illustrations help to bring the story to life — from the excitement of finding a solution to their problem with the weeds to the realization the fire wasn’t going out.
Burr also illustrated “The Christmas Train” by President Monson.
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