My 8-year-old is as book obsessive as I am, and heavily into Greek mythology as she is into Harry Potter. I have sort of introduced Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson to her and it is only the beginning, but I found this series by Carolyn Hennesy to be well written and quite a hilarious take on the very serious mythological tale about Pandora’s box of evils.
So the story goes : beautiful Pandora was the first woman on earth, created by Hephaestus on Zeus’s orders. She was endowed with gifts of beauty, persuasion and music from Aphrodite, Hermes and Apollo, as well as curiosity. When Prometheus stole fire from Heaven to give to mortals, Zeus punished him by handing Pandora over to his brother Epimetheus. Promethius was of course punished for years and years with a deadly curse on his liver. Anyway, Pandora was presented with a box, and asked to never open it. Because she was blessed with curiosity, she did open the box, like Zeus knew she would, and lived to regret it for, she released seven deadly evils, leaving behind the one single thing that would help humans when they faced the suffering she inflicted upon them – that one thing was hope!
In this delightful made- for kids version, we meet a 13 yr old Pandora Atheneus Andromaeche Helena or Pandy as her friends know her. When Zeus gives the box to Promethius who is Pandora’s father in this story and told never to look inside it, he puts it away carefully, instructing Pandora to do the same. Given that teenagers are quite unlikely to listen, Pandy does the exact opposite of what her father asks her to do. Wanting to show something other than her father’s liver( mythology states that Zeus had Promethius bound to a rock, so an eagle could eat his liver during the day, but because he was immortal, his reprieve would be that his liver would re-grow every night and on and on.. the torture went) for show & tell, Pandy decides to steal the wooden box and take it to school. She falls for a trick via two mean-spirited girls and her hand accidentally touches the seal on the box. It opens, releasing all of the seven evils at once. The best part of this book is how the released evils are clearly explained with young readers in mind, they understand what it is she did and can relate to it just as well. The first in the series is about rescuing one of those evils – jealousy. Chaos ensues as Pandy faces the wrath of Zeus, Hera and the rest of the Olympians, there, she is ordered to fix her mistake. It becomes a hilarious account of ‘what to-do’ as Pandy, Alice and Iole ( her friends) set about on their adventure.