Home > Book Reviews, Mock Newbery 2011 > Mirror Mirror : A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer

Mirror Mirror : A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer

Publication Date: March 4, 2010

Reviewed For: Grades 3-6

Journal Review / Summary
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. -SLJ

Presentation of Information (accuracy, clarity, information):
New spin on classic fairy tales.

Delineation of a setting:
Setting is well described in illustration.

Delineation of a plot:
There isn’t a plot that continues from page one to the end but each fairy tale’s poem briefly tells the tale in two very different ways – showcased by the reversible poem. Very well done.

Delineation of characters:
Each poem has its own characters, obviously.

Appropriateness of style:
The reverse style of the poems in this book is very interesting. The first poem in the book is an explanation of the poem style to follow – helpful for the reader. Singer had adapted the style for each of the fairy tales so that the opposing view (the second poem) makes sense – Cinderella, day and night; Sleeping Beauty and the Wide-Awake Prince, for example –

Interpretation of the theme or concept:
Well done by the style.

Excellence of presentation for a child audience:
Kids will get a kick out of the reversible stories, but I don’t think this would be a good introduction to these fairy tales. This could actually be a great activity to do in a classroom with older children – writing a poem that makes as much sense reading up as down is a difficult project.

Things I Liked:
The Doubtful Duckling was my favorite.

Concluding Newbery Thoughts:
Don’t think it’s quite worth a Newbery, or even an honor, but this is still a great book.

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