JANUARY MIX by Leigh Stein
The Littlest Panda Soundtrack
My first novel, The Fallback Plan, has a panda subplot. Esther, the protagonist, imagines writing a screenplay adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe starring pandas in the roles of the Pevensie children. This playlist is meant to be listened to during soft snowfall.
1. “Big Stuff,” Billie Holiday
During the Blitz, the Pevensie pandas are sent to live with their uncle in the English countryside. Opening credits: closeup on the littlest panda’s face, seen through the car’s backseat window.
2. “Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” Marlene Dietrich
The pandas play hide and seek. Their uncle is mysteriously absent. Nothing makes sense.
3. “Tunglið,” Ólafur Arnalds
The littlest panda finds a secret portal to Narnia in an armoire.
4. “Young Folks,” Peter Bjorn and John
While the littlest panda is finding a secret portal, her brother is making a veggie burger and playing Guitar Hero.
5. “Sea of Love,” Cat Power
The littlest panda meets a faun.
6. “Explain It to Me,” Liz Phair
The faun tells her that they have to save Hanukkah, and explains the curse of the evil White Witch (“Aryan white, if you know what I mean”).
7. “I Will Survive,” Cake
The littlest panda tucks a dagger in her belt.
8. “Better in Manhattan,” Casey Dienel
The littlest panda returns home, and none of her brothers or sisters care to hear about her adventure.
9. “Hounds of Love,” Kate Bush
The littlest panda returns to the snowy woods to complete her mission. The White Witch offers her a piece of Turkish Delight.
10. “Personal Jesus,” Johnny Cash
The panda faces the witch.
11. “A Change Is Gonna Come,” Sam Cooke
Violence and daffodils.
by Leigh Stein
— Leigh Stein is the author of the novel The Fallback Plan, just released from Melville House. Her full-length poetry collection, Dispatch from the Future, is forthcoming in June.