Reworking traditional fairy stories is a rich seam for any animation student to mine and Xiao Xi by Norwich School of Art and Design's Steff Lee has a distinctive slant to it. It is set in China where a poor little match girl is having no luck whatsoever selling her products on a snow covered street. She is hounded by the menacing white van driver (we know how frightening they can be) with a vehicle full of seemingly destitute children. A friendly passer-by gives her a sparkler that momentarily lightens her life though things seem bleak when the sparkles die out. The appearance of a red rat that scurries up the girl's body changes her luck. Rats are considered plucky creatures in China and the girl is taken on a pyrotechnic journey over the traditional buildings of the city. Successfully mixing live action with 2D animation it is an ambitious work, with the added value of being able to read about Steff's trials getting her project ready on time in her excellent and very readable blog. I'm impressed with any animator who has a chart up showing her all the work still to do. I've never been quite that organised. Stop a while at her easy to navigate (they are not all like that) website and enjoy a stylish short in which a willow pattern plate comes alive and reveals its story.