Reviewed by Ann Birch
By Victoria Turnbull. Clarion Books, 2017. 30 pages. $16.99/hardcover; $12.99/eBook. Recommended for ages 4–8.Buy from QuakerBooks
Pandora, a fox, lives at a dump where she busies herself repairing broken things. But she doesn’t know how to fix an injured bird who has landed among the discards. She prepares him a soft bed and watches over him as he regains the strength to fly away. Each year, he brings back a bit of the natural world to decorate his box. When he fails to reappear, Pandora takes to her bed in a long spell of sadness. During his absence, the bits the bird has gathered form a garden, at first small but eventually lavish. By the time the bird returns, the dump has been transformed into “a land of living things.”
The author/illustrator makes varied use of the large two-page spreads, and draws upon the contrast of simplicity with clutter. Because each subtle drawing repays a second careful look, this would be an ideal book to read one-on-one with a child. My ten-year-old granddaughter, who likes to draw, read it slowly in a room full of noise and activity, and seemed absorbed. A review from School Library Journal points out a variety of possible themes: friendship, hope, and care for the environment. Any of these themes make the book a good choice for First-day schools with children aged four to eight. Pandora also received a 2017 best spiritual book award from Spirituality and Practice, a multifaith and interspiritual website.