Children's Literature - Ken MarantzPandora's story begins when Prometheus steals fire from the gods. King Zeus decides to design a tricky punishment. He creates a very beautiful but very curious woman named Pandora, and sends her to marry Prometheus's brother, Epimetheus. For a wedding gift, he presents them with a magnificent box, but warns them never to open it. Of course, Pandora's curiosity wins out. She opens the box, allowing "trouble bugs" loose into the world. With great effort, however, she manages to save Hope. Marzollo's retelling is spritely, contemporary, filled with clever asides. Along the bottom borders march small birds with their own comments and questions, as a suggested kind of Greek chorus. The blue background scenes are dominated by the actors wearing simple garments in solid colors. Marzollo uses Adobe Photoshop to manipulate Chinese ink and watercolors to suggest collage. Heavy black outlines enhance this effect; conversations are printed without speech balloons with isolated figures. The all-important box is covered with eye-catching decorative symbols reproduced on the endpapers; the birds in the border add a distracting but humorous thread. Marzollo adds a note for parents, teachers, and librarians on how she has aimed this adaptation with a suggestion to turn it into a play.
School Library JournalGr 2-4-In every sense, this is a truly modern retelling of a traditional tale. Its basic themes of curiosity, appreciation, hope, and hardship are successfully broken down for young readers, but the dialogue frequently wanders into the realm of silliness. Lyricism is often sacrificed for simplicity and humor. A Greek chorus of squawking chickens runs along the bottom edge of the page, providing a sometimes-confusing commentary about the action in the tale. The ills that Pandora releases into the world are dubbed "trouble that would now `bug' people on Earth," and they are literally depicted as bugs. Epimetheus is thrilled at Prometheus's theft of fire simply because he could eat hot oatmeal for breakfast. The watercolor and Chinese ink illustrations are colorful but have the look of comic-book art. The characters are stiff and fail to convey the emotions of the story. Lisl Weil's Pandora's Box (S & S, 1986) also uses modern, accessible language, without wandering into the realm of the ridiculous.-Jill Heritage Maza, Greenwich High School, CT Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Meet the Author
Jean Marzollo is the author of over one hundred books, including the best-selling, award-winning I SPY books.
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