Hello and happy Friday… Fairy Tale Friday!
It’s been awhile since I’ve shared a favorite fairy tale with you. We are going to remedy that right now. I am highlighting two of Marilyn Singer’s reverso poetry books, to-day. You are going to love them.
I first became acquainted with reverso poetry when Singer’s book Mirror, Mirror was on the Bluebonnet Reading Program 2011-2012 Master List. The book had a sumptuously alluring cover that spoke to this fairy tale lover and all of my students as well. It beckoned to be read. And the poems were even more tantalizing. You might remember reading my review of that book in an earlier post, here.
Not so very long ago, a package magically arrived on my doorstep. Maybe not quite that magically. And not doorstep exactly…in my gray community mailbox…but doesn’t doorstep sound much prettier? i.e., brownstone cottage nestled in the (enchanted) forest with a cobblestone path leading to a heavy wooden, iron-hinged door. The package wrapped in brown paper with a tag that reads ‘open me’ leaning against the massive door as if it was left there by elves. Isn’t that so much better than the mailman “brung” it?
Well, that package contained two more of Marilyn Singer’s reverso poetry books. Generously given to me by the author herself. Follow, Follow is the companion to Mirror, Mirror. And Echo, Echo is a collection of reverso poems about Greek myths.
See what I mean? This gorgeous cover art and the illustrations within by Josee Masse perfectly complement the concept of the reverso poem. Be still my heart!
So you might be asking, what is this reverso poetry business I speak of? It is a poetry bargain, that’s what it is. Like a two-fer or a BOGO in the world of poetry. Two poems for the price of one. Does that make it clear as mud? Let me try again. They are poems that can be read up and down with different meanings depending on which way they are read.
In Mirror, Mirror, for example, the poem(s) by that same name is 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). Reading down the poem, it is in the voice of SW. But when the poem is turned upside-down so that the last lines become the first, it reflects the voice of that mean, old step-mother.
And naturally, the illustrations are reversos themselves. Like the cape and the swirl of the dress on the cover of Follow, Follow. Contrasting colors, leading off in different directions – the mirror image of one another. Pegasus flying in the morning sky on the top half of the cover for Echo, Echo but appearing as the constellation in the night sky on the bottom half of the cover. So dad-gum clever, huh?
But the ingenuity only begins with the cover. Let me share just one of these lyrical little goodies with you. From Follow, Follow:
Get out your readers, girls. I know the print is tiny in the picture but so totally worth reading. This, of course, is a reverso of the Aesop’s fable “Ready, Set, Go” AKA “The Tortoise and the Hare”
Then from Echo, Echo, I give you the myth of “King Midas and His Daughter”Marilyn Singer’s circular poetry puts a new spin on these ageless tales. And her books can be used in so many ways. For lessons on genre. To introduce Greek myths and to accompany book studies of the popular Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians or The Heroes of Olympus series. They provide an excellent resource for teaching voice. And these books are wonderful tools for exciting children about poetry.
In Texas there’s been a big push for teaching poetry at the elementary school level. Questions of about types of poetry are now present on the state assessment test given in third, fourth and fifth grades. I think children begin school loving rhymes and songs as found in Mother Goose and the nonsensical stories of Dr. Seuss. And that rhymes. I’m a poet and didn’t know it.
But somewhere that loving of rhyming words or lyrical language gets lost.
If you are looking for poetry books to share with your children or students, consider some of these great titles. Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli, illustrated by Matt Phelan, This is Just to Say by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski (LOVE THIS ONE!), Good Dog by Maya Gottfried, illustrated by Robert Rahway Zakanitch.
The book Love That Dog by Sharon Creech is poetry disguised as fiction. Jack, the main character, struggles to write poems for a class assignment. But with an introduction to free verse and the gentle coaxing of his teacher, Jack begins writing a poem in memory of his dog. FAB-U-LOUS book.
Well, friends, it is now Friday NIGHT. I started working on this last night (Thursday) and here we are. Breakfast with a dear friend, a hair cut, Skyping with my sister, movie with my Prince and Face-Timing with Lauren and Lucia all got “in the way” of my completing this post. It has been awhile since I have had a give-away so let’s have one to celebrate another TGIFTF post.
So click here and choose one or all of the options to enter the giveaway.
You can learn more about Marilyn Singer and her many other TERRIFIC children’s books on her webpage, here. Hope you will stop by to meet this wonderful author. Tell her Leslie sent you. Then come back here next week (or before) for another Fairy Tale Friday and to find out who the lucky winner of the giveaway is! (Terrible grammar but now I have had a wee bit of wine and don’t care)
Have a restful, fun-filled weekend, my friends. Thank you for spending a moment of it here, with me.
Hugs and kisses,