From School Library Journal
Starred Review. PreSchool-Grade 4—In Window
(1991) and Home (2004, both Greenwillow), Baker combined a concept, her signature collages, and a wordless format to underscore environmental issues. Mirror
illuminates the common humanity beneath the surface of cultural differences. In a clever design, two sets of bound signatures face one another, the gatherings reversed from their normal location inside the spine; readers manipulate the two openings simultaneously. In parallel narratives, two boys awaken in the moonlight, accompany their fathers on an errand, and return home. In the story on the left, the destination is a hardware emporium in Sydney, Australia. Materials for an indoor fireplace are purchased and put in a van. The right side occurs in Morocco. Father and son mount a donkey and travel a long distance to sell a hand-woven rug and buy a computer at the market. After a family dinner, they turn it on and the Australians settle onto a fireside carpet matching the one in the other story. The size, shape, and number of the panels in one story are reflected in the other, a choice that assists with comparison. English and Arabic paragraphs introduce the visual narratives. A diagram indicates the right-to-left orientation of the Moroccan story. Baker's skill in orchestrating fabric, vegetation, clay, and other materials into scenes with the proper scale and convincing depth is a wonder to behold. The author's notes hint at her purpose and process. A fresh take on a timely and timeless message.—Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
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This quiet, inventive, mostly wordless picture book follows two boys on opposite sides of the world through a single day, highlighting the differences and universalities in their lives. Meant to be read simultaneously, the stories appear side by side as separate mini-books bound within the same covers, while brief, introductory lines of text in English and Arabic introduce the boys, one in urban Australia and one in rural Morocco. The wordless accounts begin in strict parallel, with pages subdivided into symmetrical scenes of each boy�s family life, from breakfast to daytime excursions and finally to supper. Baker allows her stories to unfold naturally, and the cultural connections never feel forced; the boys investigate a curiosity at the market or remember a younger sibling, each in his own way. That sense of verisimilitude gives a depth to the simple, common experiences, which resonate across pages and cultures. In disparate, detailed landscapes rendered in her trademark style of three-dimensional, mixed-media collage, Baker creates a moving reminder of what we all share. Preschool-Grade 3. --Thom Barthelmess