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MIRROR MIRROR by Marily Singer Illustrated by Josee Masse

mirror mirror

Singer, Marilyn. 2010. Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse. Ills. by Josee Masse. New York: Dutton’s Children’s Books. ISBN: 9780525479017.

Plot Summary

“We read most poems down a page. But what if we read them up?” In Mirror, Mirror, Marilyn Singer does just that. This collection of poetry gives a new spin on beloved fairy tales. Each poem offers opposing viewpoints cleverly through the use of the very same words, only the words are placed in the opposite order. Through cleverly written poems, Singer is able to tell the complete story behind each fairy tale highlighted in the poem.

Critical Analysis

Singer’s ability to create a poem that is able to show varying perspectives using the exact words of the first speaker is clever and creates an interesting challenge. Not only does this collection show how placement and punctuation play a part in changing meaning and tone, it illustrates how word choice and succinctly impact the meaning of a poem.
Josee Masse’s illustrations complement the poetry brilliantly. Each illustration is a mirror effect that illustrates two poems. The illustrations work with the poetry for a complete story. The colors are bright and shows contrast within the picture to show the opposing sides told in the reverso. Two great examples are “Longing for Beauty” and “The Doubtful Duckling”.

Longing for Beauty
A beast
can love
beauty.
A moist muzzle
can welcome
a rose.
A hairy ear
can prize
a nightingale, singing.
Beneath fur,
look!
A soft heart
stirs,
longing.

Longing
stirs
a soft heart.
Look
beneath fur.
A nightingale singing,
can prize
a hairy ear.
A rose
can welcome
a moist muzzle.
Beauty
can love
a Beast.

beauty

The Doubtful Duckling
Someday
I’ll turn into a swan.
No way
I’ll stay
and ugly duckling,
stubby and gray.
Plain to see –
look at me.
A beauty I’ll be.

A beauty I’ll be?
Look at me –
plain to see,
stubby and gray.
An ugly duckling
I’ll stay.
No way
I’ll turn into a swan
someday.

The doubtful duckling

Connections

This collection would be a fun way to challenge students to write a reverse poem about any topic of the students’ choosing.

Teachers could use this collection to show another way of telling popular fairy tales.

This collection would also serve as an excellent example of how punctuation affects how words are read and expressed.

About lisamscott1

I am a school librarian completing my studies at Texas Woman's University. The focus of this blog is poetry, which I love.

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