Monday, April 19, 2010

Absolutely brilliant! Brilliant? Absolutely!

There are two sides to every story, and Marilyn Singer's Mirror Mirror tells them brilliantly! She uses what she refers to as "Reversos," which are poems that can be read both up and down, with changes in punctuation making the tale completely new! While the full genius of this book is a little beyond my kids at this age, I love it. Older kids who are devouring chapter books on their own should find the reversible verse in this beautiful picture book enchanting (and older kids might find it a refreshing twist on writing poetry). It's a great lesson in how punctuation can completely change a sentence, and how important word choice can be in a story or poem. And, it's all about being concise—an excellent lesson to learn.

Every fairy tale poem in this book is told twice, once "forward," and once with the text completely flipped backward, telling the story from the antagonist's perspective (Cinderella vs. the Stepsisters, Snow White vs. the Evil Queen, etc.) "In The Hood," about Little Red Riding Hood is one of my faves (with a hip hop flavor), as is "Full Of Beans," about Jack and the Beanstalk. The rhythm of the text is a joy to read aloud, while the illustrations by Josee Massee are the perfect complement to each tale and its mirror.

This one is now on my top ten list of favorite kids' books, and it's one that I'd love to add to our library some day. And, I'm trying to write some reversos of my own... it is harder than you'd think. 

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