March 24, 2018

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Pandora by Victoria Turnbull | SLJ Review

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redstarTURNBULL, Victoria. Pandora. illus. by Victoria Turnbull. 32p. Clarion. Apr. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780544947337.

PreS-Gr 1 –Pandora, an anthropomorphic fox, finds slivers of beauty in a wasteland of discarded objects. From piles of detritus, she ferrets out treasures—a teddy bear, a van Gogh painting—repairs broken objects, and fills her house, a rickety cottage on stilts, with them. Her solitary existence is interrupted when an injured bird drops from the sky. Pandora nurses the bird, and as he becomes stronger, he flies off on brief trips, coming back with presents of flowers, leaves, and twigs. When the bird fails to return one day, a bereft Pandora is alone again—but everything is about to change. Through inspired composition and a varying palette (the brightness of the fox’s cozy home contrasts with the beige of the eerie landscape), this simple tale captures the joy of friendship and the anguish of loneliness. The rich, soft watercolor and colored pencil artwork tempers the harsh setting and has a classic storybook feel. The elegant, spare prose allows the visuals to take center stage and will leave readers asking questions about the origins of this strange, seemingly postapocalyptic world. Though she may have inherited a dreary world, Pandora’s attempts to revitalize it will inspire readers who may be discouraged with humankind’s negative effect on the planet. VERDICT Bound to generate discussion among adults and children alike, this quietly stirring offering can be read on multiple levels: as a love letter to friendship, a warning against careless treatment of the environment, or as a testament to the power of hope. Best shared one-on-one.–Mahnaz Dar, School Library Journal

This review was published in the School Library Journal June 2017 issue.

Mahnaz Dar About Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar ( is Assistant Managing Editor for Library Journal and School Library Journal and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.

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