the writer is a lonely hunter

writing by Gail Aldwin and other Dorset writers

sneak preview: pan de mo nium

on June 6, 2020

I’ve been working on a children’s picture book for a very long time indeed. The idea for pan de mo nium came when I was teaching a module of writing for children to undergraduates at the University of South Wales in 2015. We were looking at some features of anthropomorphism, where animals have human characteristics, and I shared examples where this technique was used to explore danger vicariously and therefore safely. Students joined the discussion before going slightly off task and started chatting about cute red pandas.

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Red pandas are found in the mountains of Nepal, northern Myanmar and central China. These animals spend most of their lives in trees.

I spent a long time wondering what the relationship would be like between a giant panda and a red panda living in central China. I started thinking about what it would be like to be part of the same family but look totally different. (Although in fact red pandas are not related to giant pandas). Could these thoughts be explored through anthropomorphism? Would it be possible for a cute and cuddly character to experience tensions around not fitting in?  I began to wonder if the issue of identity could be explored through children’s fiction by creating a purple panda.

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In Pan de mo nium Peta lives in a department store where her purple colour offers camouflage. She gets up to all sorts of mischief but when she’s spotted, the shop assistant puts an end to her tricks.  What can Peta do to become a cheeky panda once again?

Here’s a sneak preview of a scene from inside the book.  I love the colour palate that Fiona Zechmeister has cleverly used here.

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I hope this image intrigues you, but you’ll have to wait until later in 2020 when the picture book will be released by Victorina Press.

Stay in touch by following this blog. I’d love to hear what you think about this idea, so please post any feedback in the comments box.

 


10 responses to “sneak preview: pan de mo nium

  1. Consuelo Rivera-Fuentes says:

    I have always been intrigued by these animals with those black “halos” in their eyes, sometimes a bit scary. With your description I can imagine this Panda in a less scar light.
    When I received your “manuscript” or idea I immediately thought of Toy Story where the toys come alive when the adults are sleeping or not paying attention to them. I could go on about analyses and symbology present in these stories but I don’t want to spoil the surprise. Well done to you and the illustrator, very talented Fiona Zechmeister, for working together to get the best story for very young children.

  2. Alyson Faye says:

    love the image Gail so yes am intrigued

  3. Rachelle Smith says:

    What age do you envisage the book being for Gail? I don’t want my grandchildren to be too old by the time it is published, hence the question.

  4. jim bates says:

    It’s a marvelous concept for a story, Gail, and the artwork is fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing and please keep us posted. I definitely be purchasing a least one copy 🙂

  5. jim bates says:

    Done! Have you ever heard of the concept of “Little Libraries?” They are essentially a box on a post where people put books in to share with one another, ie. like a little library. We have one in our yard and that’s where you’re book will go.

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