cover image PANDORA


Robert Burleigh, , illus. by Raul Colón. . Harcourt/Silver Whistle, $16 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-15-202178-8

This superbly illustrated and tersely relayed retelling of the Greek myth from the team behind Hercules emphasizes Pandora's compulsion to know, rather than to disobey. "Pandora's curiosity about the jar did not lessen./ Oh no, not at all!/ Instead, it grew, like a clinging vine,/ Tighter and tighter around her waking thoughts." Colón pays homage to classical Greek forms in his serene and powerful artwork; the paintings return to Pandora's statuesque proportions and draped garments as faithfully as her thoughts return to the mysterious contents of the magnificent jar. Verdant laurel trees give shade from a hot Greek sun; fine lines etched onto the borders of the drawings resemble the crackling in the glaze of ancient urns. Even the climactic scenes possess a stop-action quality; the restraint of the compositions offers a tantalizing contrast to the force of Pandora's obsession. Some young readers may be put off by the story's eerie development and the gorgons of evil that stream forth from Pandora's jar, but most will be drawn in, willy-nilly, by the hypnotic text and Colón's remarkable work. Ages 5-8. (May)