Friday, March 28, 2014

Mirror Mirror

Mirror Mirror

By:  Marilyn Singer 
Illustrated by:  Josee Masse 
Published by:  Dutton Children's Books 2010

Mirror Mirror is a magical collection of poems about fairy tales completed in reverso, which I had never heard of before. The topic alone makes it magical but the poems which are told one way and then reversed and told the other way gives it even more appeal.  Singer takes 14 poems about different tales and writes a short poem about each.  Then she reverses the poem and using the same words but by changing punctuation and the grouping of the words she writes a completely new poem showing a different side or point of view of the tale. There are most of the well known tales including Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, Red Riding Hood, Snow White, as well as others such as The Ugly Duckling, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Frog Prince.   

This example of Little Red Riding Hood tells the perspective of Little Red herself and then flips it and when read upside down sounds like the wolf talking.  It is brilliant if you ask me and I would think very hard to create one poem much less 14 in this manner.  Some of the poems make more sense than others but all of them are fun to read.  My favorite was called Bear in the News, which also looks at two perspectives.  Part of the first one states, "Asleep in cub's bed blond startled by bears" and the flipped version reads "Bears startled by blond asleep in cub's bed."  Both are seen as headlines for a newspaper and they both make perfect sense to me and I am amazed at how one could do that with words.  

Singer also includes a page in the back about Reverso and challenges others to try it for themselves because she says it is so much fun.  I would love to read this to a group of students because I think they would get excited about the poems and be intrigued to write their own.  It is a new type of poetry that I believe would entice children to be excited about poetry because I know it did for me.  

The illustrations in the story also add to the concept of the Reverso style by drawing a line down the middle to show the distinction between two but at the same time she has weaved the two into one picture for they are one story.  This one shows snow white and illustrates the first point of view and then the next but they complement each other in a symmetrical way.  This adds to the poem by matching exactly what Singer has done with words and helps you to understand the voice in each side of the poem.   They are very colorful and full page illustrations that are very eye catching and just as whimsical as the poems.  

A wonderful interview with Marilyn Singer can be found at Reading Rockets!  I strongly suggest if you use this in your classroom to allow your children to explore her biography and interview!  
Meet the Author:  A video from You Tube

There is also a companion to this book that I have not read but 
plan on finding it and adding it to my collection as well. 
It is called Follow Follow.  


  1. Hi! I have this book and I almost pulled it out for my fairy tale lessons, but I held off. I felt like my students might find it confusing. You seem to be inspired by this book and the author though, so I will have to give it another shot. I will reread this one. Since I didn't include it in the fairy tale lessons, maybe I could include it in the poetry one this month.

  2. Sounds like a very cool book. I am going to look for it when I do my poetry books.