Welcome, one, welcome, all!
Teacher and librarian-types, mommies who read bedtime stories to their babies, and general readers of all shapes and sizes…climb up here and settle in for this review of a fabulous read. Snuggle up with the covers pulled over your chinny-chin-chin, this evening I am sharing Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, cleverly written by Marilyn Singer and just as cleverly illustrated by Josée Masse.
I was introduced to this adorable collection of poems through the 2011-2012 Texas Bluebonnet Reading Program Master List. Being the connoisseur of fine folklore that I am, the cover of this book
called screamed READ ME as if it had a little label dangling from it with just those directions, a la Alice in Wonderland.
But this isn’t just another fairy tale. This is a book of reverso poems each reflecting (hey, I like that…Mirror, Mirror and reflecting…I am kinda clever my darn self) the opposite points of view of two characters from the same fairy tale. For example, the poems by the same name as the title of the book are told from the perspective of Snow White and her (wicked) step-mother. (Having been a step-mother, myself, since 1991, I am a little sensitive to that W word) Naturally, the illustrations are reversos themselves.
This is the full-page spread accompanying the poem “Mirror, Mirror”.
But what, you are probably asking, is a reverso poem?
It is a poem whose lines can be read from top to bottom and then read from bottom to top. Reversible. When read from top to bottom, the poem reflects the point of view of the protagonist. But when read from bottom to top, the poem represents the viewpoint of the antagonist.
Clear as mud?
Maybe this will help.
Here is an example of author Marilyn Singer’s first reverso.
The words in the poems are exactly the same; the only thing that has changed is the punctuation and that the second poem is standing on its head. Reversed, if you will. The way I have been known to wear my underwear on occasion and even a tee shirt or pair of sweatpants to the gym.
Singer’s first simple reverso reminds me of my friend Deena’s simple graphic tee that emphasizes how punctuation can completely change the meaning of a phrase.
Doesn’t she look très chic?
Deena’s tee reads, “Let’s eat grandma. Let’s eat, grandma. Commas save lives.”
See how adding or (re)moving punctuation can completely change the meaning of a statement?
My second favorite fairy tale is “Little Red Riding Hood”. I have used it for several years to teach Internet safety to my students. We’ve done Reader’s Theater versions of LRRH that have rivaled Broadway productions complete with costumes, sets and make-up. Singer’s reverso poem, “In the Hood”, about that disobedient little girl doesn’t disappoint this numero uno fan of Lil Red.
Isn’t that just plain fun? A girl! Juicy and sweet. Just like grandma on Deena’s tee. Well, maybe gma is not quite as juicy and sweet. The grandma writing this post is rather dried-up and downright sour at times!
Check out Josée Masse’s illustration for this reverso.
When using this book in the library, I like to point out how the illustrations are divided. This one in reversed quarters – the background on the top left quarter is the same as on the bottom right quarter of the picture. The wolf – divided, partly camouflaged by the forest, that sneaky devil. The other half of his body dressed as a dapper gentleman.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give you a glimpse at the poem and picture for my number one, all-time, absolute favorite fairy tale. Can you guess which one that would be?
Oh, be still my heart.
Such. Good. Stuff.
Mirror, Mirror is a fun way to introduce or review point of view with your little readers. And my sister, Valerie, just told me that there is a sequel to this book called Follow, Follow: A Book of Reversos. I need that book. Singer has a poetry book on this year’s Bluebonnet Master List, Rutherford B., Who was He? I have used it with my fifth graders at Guerrero. The kids picked a poem about one of our Presidents from Rutherford B., then looked up said Prez on PebbleGo database. They took a few notes from the poem and the database article then put their facts into Taxgedo to create a biographical concrete poem.
Voila or as I sometimes like to say – viola…wait, is that a reverso? My very first one.
(I didn’t have an opportunity to proofread this one before he hit PRINT)
Please take a moment to visit Marilyn Singer’s webpage, here and Josée Masse’s webpage, here. Plan to come back here, HERE, to find out if Rutherford B., Who was He? is the winner of the Bluebonnet Award this year. The announcement will be made sometime in February.
If you would like a chance to win a copy of Mirror, Mirror for your very own, take a moment to enter the giveaway by clicking the Rafflecopter link below.
Have a fairy tale weekend, friends.
Hugs and kisses,