Sunday, March 10, 2013

What's Mr. Giso Making "Room to Read" Pick #7

Mirror Mirror
By:  Marilyn Singer
Illustrated by:  Josee Masse

I've had this brilliant book standing upright on my desk at school for the longest time, just waiting to share it.  Being Daylight Savings time and all, means I enjoyed an extra hour of sunlight today.  As a result, I'm feeling extra productive, so here it goes!

Mirror Mirror a Book of Reversible Verse is just one of over 80 books for children by Marilyn Singer.  Singer entertains the age old saying that there is more than one side of a story.  The topic of each page is a familiar fairy tale.  Each poem is paralleled in what Singer refers to as her "reverso."  Simply put, a reverso is a poem read from the bottom up using meaning altering punctuation and capitalization.  This puzzled verse is the perfect style for letting the reader know the two points of view each fairy tale has to offer. It has definitely given this reader a new perspective.  

In this "reverso" of Little Red Riding Hood, we are presented with a poem on the left in which Little Red Riding Hood is telling us her story of "picking berries to eat-."  She "mustn't dawdle," as her Grandma is at home waiting.  On the right, you find the reverso. 
The Big Bad Wolf spies Little Red Riding Hood trespassing in his "hood."  She is his "juicy and sweet" treat "picking berries to eat."

What's perfect about this book is that both poems are presented on each page.  You don't literally have to read the poem from the bottom up to get the double meaning--it's done for you.  The illustrations by native Canadian Masse offer the perfect visual for the reader.  Just as each poem is split in half, so are her illustrations.  We get both points of view in her vibrant, bold and fairly tale-like paintings.  For adult readers, her artwork brings back the fondest memories of childhood.

Some of the classic fairy tales covered in this book include Cinderella, Rapunzel, The Ugly Duckling, Snow White, Jack and the Beanstalk and  Hansel and Gretel.  Both the poems and the illustrations work hand in hand to inspire children to step back and realize that perhaps the Three Bears were just as scared as Goldilocks, and that maybe the Prince could have used a few hours of the sleep that his Sleeping Beauty took for granted!

I can see middle or high school English teachers using this book with their students accompanying a lesson on writing original "reverso" poems.  Obviously, it's a great read aloud for children of all ages and a great gift for a child to add to his or her bedtime book collection.  Scroll down to my book picks to order it.

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