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Middle-school librarians Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan prove that two heads are better than one when it comes to discussing YA and children's books

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Monday, February 22, 2010 7:38 am
Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer
Posted by: Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan

42583740Lynn: 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 ;-)

nonfictionmonday1Head over to Practically Paradise to read today’s round-up of Nonfiction Monday book reviews.

8 Responses to “Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer”
  1. Scope Notes Says:

    This book looks very cool. Sounds like there could be some good classroom connections as well, with the way structure is played with. Also, I appreciate the reversible poetry attempt!

  2. sally apokedak Says:

    Wow, that was a very cool reverso poem. I’m going to have to try this with my kids. Thanks for this review.

  3. Mary Burkey Says:

    Love the reversible verse! Reminded me of this awesome palindrome video:

  4. Ed Spicer Says:


    Nice job with the Reverso!

    I am very pleased to read what the Bookends think about this book, which I have already annotated and reviewed for my teacher presentation early March. This one is fun!

  5. Book Blog - Bookends - Children’s Book Reviews - Booklist Online » Blog Archive » Book Spine Poem Says:

    [...] Cindy: Over at 100 Scope Notes Travis is building a gallery of book spine poems. I was fascinated by this idea and had to try it out. Since this is Women’s History Month I decided to build on that and my love of storytelling. Here’s my found poem, “Every Girl Tells a Story.” Read down the stack of books, reading only the titles (a teacher of mine says this poem reads just as well from the bottom of the stack up–I wonder if she knows about reverso poems!: [...]

  6. Nonfiction Monday – Where’s your post? « Practically Paradise Says:

    [...] Bookends  [...]

  7. Review of the Day: Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer « A Fuse #8 Production Says:

    [...] was hoping I’d find this, and I’m glad that I have.  It’s a reverso review of the book.  And here’s a second, even more complicated version by 100 Scope [...]

  8. Reverso Reviews! | Katie Davis Says:

    [...] Betsy Bird, over at SLJ, reviewed Mirror Mirror today and 100 Scope Notes did too – and he did it in reverso (the form in the book) and so did Bookends! [...]

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