Friday 4 November 2016

ReadItDaddy's First Book of the Week - Week Ending 4th November 2016 - "Pandora" by Victoria Turnbull (Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Our First Book of the Week this week is utterly charming in every single way we can think of. The divine "Pandora" by Victoria Turnbull...
Sometimes you have to step back and admire a book's courage. If I had to sit down and work out in my head how I was going to write a fairly (initially) bleak and dark piece of work for a child audience, I'd have to drink a lot of cups of coffee and tea to even begin to work out how to do it.

Expertise in dealing with dystopian visions for a child audience must be one of the most admirable skills a writer can possess. It's fairly commonplace in upper middle grade or YA circles to see books firmly place their central characters in a future world that you really wouldn't want to live in. A world filled with doom and despair, with loneliness, with only the cast-off trappings of our consumerist society to try and make a home amongst.

Victoria Turnbull has this ability, coupled with the most amazing skill in illustrating a scene so emotionally, so effectively that you're instantly drawn in.

If it sounds like we're in love with this book, well that's fine, we are. Oh yes, we are.

Pandora's home amongst the desolate piles of rubbish. A lonely life indeed. 

"Pandora" is the tale of a lonely fox who has made a comfortable home amongst Wall-E stacks of discarded refuse. Pandora is expert at making good use of the things we've dumped or left behind, but it's a very lonely life of solitude - which initially doesn't seem to bother her at all until one fateful day when something falls into the yard, something bright blue and beautiful - and something that Pandora can't easily fix.

It's the most beautiful songbird. Pandora does her best to look after the newcomer, and eventually the bird grows stronger and gets better until once again she takes to the wing, singing the most beautiful melody.

Pandora's new friend doesn't stay around for long however, leaving her once again lost and lonely - yet the blue bird has left behind a gift that will, once again, see Pandora's home filled with greenery, beautiful creatures and the sound of song and laughter.

Pandora's "Handsome Home" - Utterly lovely!
It struck me, part way through reading this, what "Pandora" reminded me of. It feels a little bit like "The Flower" by John Light and Lisa Evans - It shares similar hues, it shares the same atmosphere and it also shares the same feeling of glorious joy as the tale winds to a close (we won't say too much about the ending but you really do need this book in your life, that's really what we're trying to get across here!).

It's beautiful, beautiful storytelling. Victoria really is amazing!

Charlotte's best bit: Pandora's gorgeously comfortable little house. Everything is just so!

Daddy's favourite bit: A book that takes you on an emotional rollercoaster ride of joy, sadness, then joy again. Utterly gorgeous.

(Kindly sent to us for review by Frances Lincoln Children's Books)


Written and Illustrated by Victoria Turnbull

Published by Frances Lincoln Children's Books

Publication Date: 3rd November 2016