The cover of this book snagged me right away. It reminded me of a precious moment I once had
with a wild bird, who trustingly perched on my finger and allowed me to carry it safely out of my garage. It was such an amazing moment.
The image of the interaction between the fox and bird feels so tender, yet seems sad in the vacant space, surrounded by junk or "abandoned" items. The title was enticing as well, partly because of my immediate association with Greek myth of Pandora's Box. Fortunately, the stories aren't related.
Author/ Illustrator: Victoria Turnbull
Publisher: Clarion Books (2017)
Ages: 4 - 8
Animals, caring, loneliness, and nature's resilience.
Synopsis (from Barnes and Noble):
Pandora lives alone, in a world of broken things. She makes herself a handsome home, but no one ever comes to visit. Then one day something falls from the sky
. . . a bird with a broken wing.
Little by little, Pandora helps the bird grow stronger. Little by little, the bird helps Pandora feel less lonely. The bird begins to fly again, and always comes back—bringing seeds and flowers and other small gifts. But then one day, it flies away and doesn't return. Pandora is heartbroken.
Until things begin to grow . . .
Pandora lived alone,
in a land of broken things.
She made herself a handsome home
from all that people had left behind.
But no one ever came to visit.
What I like about this book:
The opening scenes show mountains of discarded, broken items. The only things in the vast sea of trash, are a sad little fox and her house., which she built and furnished from recycled objects. To pass the time, she found and repaired forgotten things, like torn teddy bears. But she remained all alone.
Until . . . a bird with a broken wing fell outside her house.
Pandora's care healed the bird and a friendship developed. With its strength returning, each day the bird made longer and longer flights. Always returning with gifts from far away. The image of the nest full of seeds and flowers is priceless. But one day, the bird doesn't return. Brokenhearted, Pandora slips into depression. All the while, the gifts from the bird took root, then they took over. Ultimately, the bird and nature changed the landscape and Pandora's spirit.
This book reminds me of the images I have seen of the Amazon forest reclaiming and conquering the ancient temples and cities in South America. Or the flower that roots and sprouts in a crack in the sidewalk or wall. This is equal parts about friendship and regeneration (of both people and nature). The final page of Pandora and the blue bird together in a tree is so touching.
The illustrations are amazing. The only bright color, in the sepia toned beginning, is Pandora's blue dress and the blue bird. For just a moment the sky brightens and contains fluffy pink clouds. With the bird's departure, everything returns to grey and umber tones. Even the growing plants remain sepia colored, until Pandora emerges from her bed (and her sadness). Then subtle pinks, blues, and reds color her world. This is truly a beautiful book, in both its sparse text and illustration. One to treasure.
- make recycled treasures. Bird feeders or houses from jugs or jars, a chime (like Pandora's), or cat/dog toys from fabric scraps.
- plant seeds in old egg cartons, paper boxes, or other compostable containers.
- make your own den, maybe with blankets or driftwood on a beach.
- take a walk and find where nature is growing despite or because someone helped it.
This post is part of a series by authors and KidLit bloggers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays. For more picture book suggestions see Susanna Leonard Hill's Perfect Picture Books.