Pandora by Victoria Turnbull
Pandora, a charming red fox, lives alone in a world filled with discards. She spends her days searching through mountains of broken things. With her ingenuity she is able to repair and repurpose the cast-offs.
One day, something new descends from the sky: a bird with a broken wing. Tenderly Pandora cares for her new-found companion, helping the fledgling grow stronger until it is ready to take flight.
Alone once more, the grieving Pandora believes that her "heart will break."
But the bird has left her a gift, a miracle which transforms the world of broken things into a world of living things.
Pandora is an exquisitely rendered tale of reclaiming, repairing, kindness and hope.
A cursory inspection of my home reveals that like Pandora, I live in a home filled with discards. I wondered if I could take some of these items and repurposed them in a meaningful way.
A bird was out of the question, but maybe another form of life was possible. How about plants? I found a box of zinnia seeds. There was still was a fair amount of seed rattling around inside the seed packet. A discarded egg carton and some unused potting soil would make an excellent medium for seed sprouting. I was on my way!
A friend gave me a cutting from one of her houseplants. I repurposed a disposable plastic food container into a terrarium for this young plant. With the addition of small painted rock nestled among the soil and a tiny wire bird perched atop, the new environment for my cutting was complete. I like thinking that the bird ornament is a fitting homage to the wounded bluebird cared for by Pandora.
An additional plastic food container was repurposed to hold opened boxes of seed.
This Pandora inspired project could be replicated in classrooms, as an extension activity.
One aspect of the book that would make an interesting exploration with young readers would be a consideration of the Victoria Turnbull's use of color. Rusty reds of Pandora's fur and the blue of her overalls as well as the bluebird's feathers catch the viewers' eye. The soft muted hues and limited color pallet set the mood. Interior views of Pandora's home are predominantly grey, while exterior views add a sun- washed glow.
An illustrator workshop might introduce the color wheel to students. An examination of the book's color pallet and a comparison with the hues found on a traditional color wheel can teach the concept of complimentary colors. Following an exploration of the various possible parings of complimentary colors, youngsters can be invited to create their own art using a complimentary color pallet. Colored pencils provide a softness which mimics Turnbull's illustrations.