Title of the work
Country of the First Edition
Country/countries of popularity
First Edition Date
First Edition Details
Joan Holub. Mini-Myths: Be Patient, Pandora!. New York: Abrams Books, 2014, 22 pp.
abramsbooks.com (accessed: July 27, 2018)
Alternative histories (Fiction)
Children (Toddlers, 1-3 yrs)
We are still trying to obtain permission for posting the original cover.
Author of the Entry:
Allison Rosenblum, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Second analysis by Ayelet Peer, Bar- Ilan University, email@example.com
Peer-reviewer of the Entry:
Lisa Maurice, Bar-Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org
Elżbieta Olechowska, University of Warsaw, email@example.com
Daniel Nkemleke, ENS, University of Yaoundé, firstname.lastname@example.org analysis by Ayelet Peer)
Photo courtesy of Joan Holub.
, b. 1956
Joan Holub is a prolific children's author from the USA. Graduated from college in Texas with a fine arts degree. Worked as an art director at Scholastic trade books in New York. She has written and/or illustrated over 150 children's books. She has developed a range of series for teenagers on mythological themes: Goddess Girls, set in Mount Olympus Academy, Grimmtastic Tales series, set in Grimm Academy, Thunder Girls, about Norse gods set in Asgard Academy, and Heroes in Training, in which the male Greek gods, as very young men, set out on a range of adventures. For pre-school children, Jan Holub has written on a range of topics including several works with religious and historical themes. These include: This Little President; This Little Trailblazer, Hooray for St. Patrick’s Day!, and Light the Candles: A Hanukkah Lift-the-Flap Book. Joan Holub trained in fine art and worked as an art director at a graphic design company before becoming a children's illustrator and then author.
Official website (accessed: July 2, 2018).
Profile at the penguinrandomhouse.com (accessed: July 2, 2018).
Profile at the simonandschuster.com (accessed: July 2, 2018).
Bio prepared by Sonya Nevin, University of Roehampton, email@example.com, and Allison Rosenblum, Bar Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, email@example.com
1. What drew you to writing/working with Classical Antiquity and what challenges did you face in selecting, representing, or adapting particular myths or stories?
I learned to love Greek and Norse mythology in elementary school. I’m very comfortable adapting the framework of an existing myth or fairy tale by pushing it into a different setting, adding humor, and/or building in a nonfiction component. Staying true to the essential core of each myth along the way is important to me. A young Goddess Girls reader once told me she enjoyed the series because she “learned something”. In other words, while she liked being entertained, she appreciated that her familiarity and factual understanding of the original myths was broadened at the same time.
2. Why do you think classical / ancient myths, history, and literature continue to resonate with young audiences?
Kids have questions about their world. So it’s interesting to them to learn how ancient Greeks and other cultures answered questions about how their world worked in exciting tales of heroes and beasts. How did the sun cross the sky? In a chariot drawn by the god Helios. What caused night? The goddess Nyx’s starry cape covered the sky. Thrilling stories of courage and danger, such as Heracles’ twelve labors, the Trojan Horse, and the Argonauts never go out of style.
3. Do you have a background in classical education (Latin or Greek at school or classes at the University?) What sources are you using? Scholarly work? Wikipedia? Are there any books that made an impact on you in this respect?
I have an entire shelf of mythology resource books. Some of my favorite go-to sources are the Scholastic Mythlopedia series, Edith Hamilton’s Mythology, Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes, and www.theoi.com (accessed: May 28, 2018).
4. How concerned were you with "accuracy" or "fidelity" to the original? (another way of saying that might be—that I think writers are often more "faithful" to originals in adapting its spirit rather than being tied down at the level of detail—is this something you thought about?)
Each book in the Goddess Girls series (ages 8-12, Simon and Schuster) and Heroes in Training series (ages 7-10, Simon and Schuster) is a retelling of one or two Greek myths, with a twist. We stay as true as possible to the core bones of an original myth in order to give young readers a good understanding, but we include kid situations and humor to entertain. As an example, in Goddess Girls #1: Athena the Brain, Athena is summoned to attend Mount Olympus Academy, where Zeus is the principal. MOA teachers include Mr. Cyclops, who teaches Hero-ology, a class where students are graded on their abilities to maneuver small hero figures such as Odysseus, around a gameboard to enact the Trojan War, etc. Meanwhile, Athena, who is the goddess of invention among other things, inadvertently turns mean-girl Medusa’s hair to snakes and gives her the power to turn mortals to stone by means of a shampoo-like invention called Snakeypoo at the MOA invention fair.
5. Are you planning any further forays into classical material?
Suzanne Williams and I have written a new middle grade series called Thunder Girls (accessed: May 28, 2018), which is a twist on Norse mythology featuring strong girl characters. The first book Freya and the Magic Jewel releases May 2018 for ages 8-12, published by Simon and Schuster.
Prepared by Allison Rosenblum, Bar Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org, and Ayelet Peer, Bar Ilan University, email@example.com
Photo courtesy of Leslie Patricelli.
Leslie Patricelli (Illustrator)
Leslie Patricelli is an illustrator based in Hailey, Idaho, USA. Patricelli majored in communications from the University of Washington, and took classes at the School of Visual Concepts in Seattle. She first worked as an advertising copywriter. Her work is primarily aimed at books for a preschool audience and carried out for Candlewick Press. She has recently begun branching out into writing children's literature. She created Rover the dog for Windows XP help.
Official website (accessed: January 13, 2018).
Profile at the goodreads.com (accessed: June 26, 2018).
Bio prepared by Allison Rosenblum, Bar Ilan University, firstname.lastname@example.org and Sonya Nevin, University of Roehampton, email@example.com
Pandora’s mother tells her not to open a box. Pandora does everything but open it – touches it, leans on it, sits on it, stands on it, bounces on it – until it springs open and cupcakes come flying out. Pandora apologizes and hopes her mother stills loves her. She does.
There is an explanation at the end of the book about Prometheus stealing fire from Olympus and being punished for it along with the people of earth.
Analysis by Allison Rosenblum:
This book is a very short retelling of the original myth. It gears itself towards young children by making Pandora herself a toddler that cannot withstand the pull of a strange box. It also shows that even though Pandora’s curiosity got the better of her and she made a mistake, her mother still continues to love her.
Analysis by Ayelet Peer:
The illustrations in this cardboard picture book relate an entire story with just a few words, by a clever placing of the main characters, Pandora and the Box. With two words and a series of illustrations the book captures the essence of the myth and Pandora’s curiosity (without using the word itself). On the first page Pandora’s character appears under the caption, “Pandora” and on the opposite side the word “box” is written, and we see a large wrapped box.
In the next pages the box remains intact and the only change is with Pandora, who slowly approaches it with a puzzled look which turns to a mischievous grin. In the next page the box is not on its own page any more. The growing attachment of Pandora to the box is well illustrated. When they are apart, they are both drawn on separate pages. However, when Pandora touches it with her finger, the box is drawn on both pages (part of it on its on page and part of it is drawn on the same page with Pandora) until Pandora starts to communicate with it more (leaning on it, sitting on it etc.), and then they are illustrated both on the same page. Hence the drawings convey Pandora’s internal conflict as well as her interaction with the box.
The author made two significant changes from ancient myth in the box. The first is its content. Unlike the original myth, this box contained good things, cupcakes, which were ruined when Pandora opened it. This is a story for toddlers and this Mini-Myth series adapts the known myth to correlate with toddlers’ world. Therefore the author wished to show that if we behave badly and cannot control ourselves and be patient we can destroy fun things (and not abstractly release bad things to the world).
The second alteration, the use of Hope, is also adapted to cater to the young audience. Pandora hopes (the word is accentuated in the text by using a pink colour) that her mother still loves her after what she did. “Do you still love me? I hope so”. This is a naïve and innocent approach to the sense of hope as it is understood by toddlers. Pandora hopes that her relations with her mother are not harmed and her mother reassures her that she loves her regardless. This is the quintessence of Hope, that it can help us get through difficult straits, even ones of our own making.
Little Pandora draws her confidence from the love of her mother, therefore hope, which was at first a sign of Pandora’s fear and doubt (I hope you love me), reaffirms its positive strength through the mother’s love. The story also describes a healthy mother-child relationship, in sharp contrast to the ancient gods’ relations with the humans they created. The mother does not wish to punish Pandora for her curiosity and misdeed; she comforts her in her distress and the child understands it is okay to make a mistake occasionally. What is more important in this story is Pandora’s sincere regret and understanding of her actions, and not just her mischief.