Thursday, March 01, 2007
Pandora's Box: A Greek Myth
Pandora's Box: A Greek Myth, retold and illustrated by Jean Marzollo. Autographed copy won from contest sponsored by Raab Associates.
The Plot: A retelling of the Greek myth of Pandora.
The Good: I like retellings of myths and legends and folktales. There are some stories that everyone should know and be aware of; if for no other reason then when the stories are referenced elsewhere, the reader knows what the author is doing. Just like right now, I'm assuming that you know the myth of Pandora. How do kids learn these basic stories?
One of my childhood memories is listening to the story of Pandora on a children's record; I can still remember the refrain of "don't open the box, don't open the box." Other ways are picture books, like this, that are told in kid-friendly ways; Graphic Novels; and cartoons.
It's a bit hard to see in the jacket photo, but those little critters on the bottom are birds. They serve as a Greek chorus to this story; they ask questions the reader may ask, explain things, and comment. They amused me. As the birds ask what is a Greek chorus, they answer "we look. we listen. we discuss." Sounds like a bunch of bloggers!
This isn't "modernized"; it's set in the time of myth. But, it is modern in how the people talk (Zeus: "I've got it! The trickiest plan ever! Step 1.") When Pandora opens the box and "ills" escape, they are the ills that "bug" children: Lazy Bug, Teasy Bug, Meany Bug. It's also slightly silly, such as the things that Pandora does to try to have the box "accidentally" open. This serves as a good introduction to those who will be reading the Percy Jackson books in a few years.
Myths, legends, fairy tales weren't originally told or written for children. There's always the question: how much of the story to tell? What is OK for what age group? Here, Marzollo omits details such as Prometheus getting his liver eaten.
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