Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan
Lynn: If we were as clever as Marilyn Singer, we’d write this blog in reversible lines in honor of her wonderful new book, Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse (Penguin/Dutton, March 2010). There is a reason she is a writer and we are reviewers though so we won’t try. I’ll resort to saying that this book is a sheer delight in every way. Read the lines of the first poem top to bottom and then watch the meaning subtly change as the lines flip in the second poem so that the bottom lines are now the top. I especially love the poems that reflect the viewpoints of two narrators: Snow White and the Evil Queen, the witch and Hansel or the Wolf and Little Red Riding Hood. Josee’ Masse’s equally clever illustrations add delightful visual clues for the reader as well.
Share this book with kids and challenge them to try writing their own reversible verse. Singer used familiar fairy tales as her subject but the range of topics is wide open. Irresistible!
Cindy: Speak for yourself, Lynn! How could I ignore that challenge? I’ll readily admit I am no Marilyn Singer, but here’s my composed-at-5 a.m.-in-15-minutes attempt at a reverso poem in honor of this book, our friendship and this blog:
As for the book, I agree with Lynn, it is delightful. Singer’s poems change meaning and give the opposing evil viewpoint of the villain in her reverso poems. The Booklist review targets this book for grades 2-5 and while that is appropriate for the natural audience of the book, consider purchasing this for middle school collections, too, for its creative writing or readers theater classroom possibilities. And I love the title! Using the familiar chant of Snow White’s queen for a book of fairy tale poetry with poems that mirror themselves is brilliant. This poetry book is among the fairest of them all.
Lynn: Cindy is clearly up to the challenge! Now I’ll have to see what I can write after I get the boys on the bus. Stay tuned