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Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse Hardcover – March 4, 2010


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Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse + Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 and up
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile; 1 edition (March 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525479015
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525479017
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,408 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 3–6—This appealing collection based on fairy tales is a marvel to read. It is particularly noteworthy because the poems are read in two ways: up and down. They are reverse images of themselves and work equally well in both directions. "Mirror Mirror" is chilling in that Snow White, who is looking after the Seven Dwarves, narrates the first poem of the pair. Read in reverse, it is the wicked queen who is enticing Snow White to eat the apple that will put her to sleep forever. "In the Hood" is as crafty as the wolf who tells of his delightful anticipation of eating Red Riding Hood. The mirrored poem is Red Riding Hood reminding herself not to dally since Grandma awaits. The vibrant artwork is painterly yet unfussy and offers hints to the characters who are narrating the poems. An endnote shows children how to create a "reverse" poem. This is a remarkably clever and versatile book that would work in any poetry or fairy-tale unit. A must-have for any library.—Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* This ingenious book of reversos, or poems which have one meaning when read down the page and perhaps an altogether different meaning when read up the page, toys with and reinvents oh-so-familiar stories and characters, from Cinderella to the Ugly Duckling. The five opening lines of the Goldilocks reverso read: “Asleep in cub’s bed / Blonde / startled by / Bears, / the headline read.” Running down the page side-by-side with this poem is a second, which ends with: “Next day / the headline read: / Bears startled / by blonde / asleep in cub’s bed.” The 14 pairs of poems—easily distinguished by different fonts and background colors—allow changes only in punctuation, capitalization, and line breaks, as Singer explains in an author’s note about her invented poetic form. “It is a form that is both challenging and fun—rather like creating and solving a puzzle.” Singer also issues an invitation for readers to try to write their own reversos on any topic. Matching the cleverness of the text, Masse’s deep-hued paintings create split images that reflect the twisted meaning of the irreverently witty poems and brilliantly employ artistic elements of form and shape—Cinderella’s clock on one side morphs to the moon on the other. A must-purchase that will have readers marveling over a visual and verbal feast. Grades 2-5. --Patricia Austin

More About the Author

Marilyn Singer was born in the Bronx (New York City) on October 3, 1948 and lived most of her early life in N. Massapequa (Long Island), NY. She attended Queens College, City University of New York, and for her junior year, Reading University, England. She holds a B.A. in English from Queens and an M.A. in Communications from New York University.

In 1974, after teaching English in New York City high schools for several years, she began to write - initially film notes, catalogues, teacher's guides, and film strips. Then, one day, when she was sitting in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she penned a story featuring talking insect characters she'd made up when she was eight. Encouraged by the responses she got, she wrote more stories, and in 1976, her first book, The Dog Who Insisted He Wasn't, was published by E.P.Dutton & Co.

Since then, Marilyn has published over eighty books for children and young adults. Her genres are many and varied, including realistic novels, fantasies, non-fiction, fairy tales, picture books, mysteries and poetry. She likes writing many different kinds of books because it's challenging and it keeps her from getting bored.

Marilyn currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband Steve; their standard poodle Oggi, seen in the home page photo; a cat named August ; two collared doves named Jubilee and Holiday; and a starling that says, "Hi. How are you? Sweet Birdie. Okay!" Her interests include ballroom/Latin dancing, dog training, reading, hiking, bird-watching, gardening, playing computer adventure games, and going to the movies and the theatre. She's also a major Star Trek fan.

Marilyn is the former host of the AOL Children's Writers Chat and currently co-hosts the Poetry Blast at various conferences. Visit her web site: www.marilynsinger.net.

Customer Reviews

This book is very cleverly written!
uofi_99
Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Josee Masse is a book of reversible verse or "reversos" which were created by Singer.
Utah Mom
I'd highly recommend this for either age.
C. Leebrick

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I like to think that the world of children's literature has gained a bit more respect in the last decade or so. Folks notice it and reference it more often. And as sales continue to be good and scholars take note of it more often, its sub-genres proliferate and gain acceptance. Graphic novelists of children's fare increase. Non-fiction writers for kids demand more attention. And then there are the poets. Poets like Marilyn Singer who has been doing good steady work for years and years. I'm looking at my watch and I see that it's just about time that Ms. Singer get her due. How clever of her to make it easy on me by producing a poetry picture book that is not only fun, not only clever, and not only beautiful to look at, but also has a good FIVE stars from five professional review journals. "Mirror Mirror" is everything a person wants in a book for kids. It's enjoyable for children, who will pore over the wordplay for long stretches of time, and it's clever enough for the gatekeepers (librarians, teachers, parents, etc.) who want a poetry book for kids that doesn't take them to Snoresville, USA. "Mirror Mirror", in short, delivers.

Better flip to the back of the book (how appropriate!) if you want an explanation of what's going on here. Says the last page, "We read most poems down a page. But what if we read them up?" Calling such poems "reversos", Singer's concept is simple. Each poem is repeated. The one on the left is read down. Then Singer takes the same words, puts in some slightly different punctuation, and when each line is read backwards it tells an entirely new story. The stories in this book are fairy tales and Singer not only tells the tales frontwards and backwards but gives them new stories too.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Anne Heiner VINE VOICE on April 8, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is unique and wonderful, mostly what I imagined, but done so much better than I anticipated. Singer and Masse manage to provide both sides of the story from famous fairy tales, using similar imagery--and in Singer's case, the exact same words--to convey differing viewpoints. I've rarely seen this done so well if at all since my memory is failing to produce another example.

Yes, you need this one for your personal library. I've enjoyed it myself as an adult without a child present but also anticipate using it with children in the future.

This one can be enjoyed for mere entertainment alone, but it has so many possible applications for teaching and learning, too. It's a "must own" for any school or public library. I haven't been this excited about a picture book in a while and will be shocked if this one isn't in high contention for a Caldecott and other honors over the coming year.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ulyyf on May 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great concept, and a good book.

Each poem is readable frontwards and backwards, with each line acting as its own unit. (This means some of the lines are quite short, of course.)

And the front and the back version of each poem tells the fairy tale from a different perspective. My favorite? The Hansel and Gretel one:

Fatten up, boy!
Don't you
like prime rib?
Then your hostess, she will roast you
goose.
Have another chocolate.
Eat another piece of gingerbread.
When you hold it out,
your finger
feels like
a bone.
Fatten up.
Don't
keep her waiting...

Keep her waiting.
Don't
fatten up.
A bone
feels like
your finger
when you hold it out.
Eat another piece of gingerbread,
Have another chocolate -
Goose!
Then your hostess, she will roast you
like prime rib.
Don't you
fatten up, boy!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dienne TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The bold, beautiful illustrations for this book perfectly illustrate the dual perspective, chimeric nature of the book. Roughly half of each illustration represents one of the two sides of the accompanying "reverso" poem, while roughly half represents the other perspective. The two visual perspectives generally join along a central line, with the tone of the illustration changing along that line, even at times when figures continue across the dividing line (as in the illustration for the Little Red Riding Hood poem ("In the hood"), in which the wolf's body flows across the top of the page, but in one half he's wearing a green suit, while on the other half his body blends with the trees). This division is not, however, rigid, as in some of the illustrations figures flow across the dividing line more fluidly.

These illustrations are so brilliant that I'm contemplating buying a second copy of the book, removing the pages and framing them - they're that good. I'm just not sure I can myself to damage a book in that way. I've looked at some of Josee Masse's illustrations online and I really like her style, both for kids and adults.

Marilyn Singer's poems themselves are a mixed bag. The concept itself - creating a poem that can be read both forward and backward - is ingenious. Perhaps the best example is the one Ms. Singer presents on the last page - her own first attempt: "A cat/without/a chair:/Incomplete." vs. "Incomplete:/A chair/without/a cat." Although the words are the same, they present a different perspective or even a completely different meaning when read in reverse.

Applying this concept to fairy tales, in which there are often two different characters with different perspectives, is also brilliant. Some of the poems in this book are pitch-perfect.
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