Sunday, December 04, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verses
by Marilyn Singer
illustrated by Josée Masse

Fairy Tales. There is always something new to discover, something to add - a new perspective, an interesting what-if, a hidden agenda... we never seem to tire of them.

Mirror, Mirror takes some of the classic fairy tales and turns them upside down. Literally. In breathtakingly refreshing, clever, and unique reversible verses.

Isn't this
a fairy tale?
A fairy tale
this isn't...

Write a short verse. Read it in reverse, line by line, with perhaps change in punctuation. Does it make sense? If so, does it convey the same idea from a different perspective, an opposite perspective? Then you have a reverso poem.

Sleeping Beauty, Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Cinderella, Princess and the Frog, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel... there are two sides to every story.

Picture a larger than life wolf camouflaged among the trees in the woods in the background. Now imagine him wearing a snazzy suit coat and a hat, lumbering on all fours. Slavering jaw. Front paw raised in motion. Glaring... glaring at the little girl in the foreground. A little girl wearing a red hooded cape. Popping berries into her mouth. One leg kicked high behind her suggesting skipping motion while the basket in her hand swings jauntily. All in bright colors of teal and green and brown and red and yellow, a brilliant blend of warm and cool colors.

In the Hood
In my hood,
skipping through the wood,
carrying a basket,
picking berries to eat —
juicy and sweet
what a treat!
But a girl
musn't dawdle.
After all, Grandma's waiting.
After all, Grandma's waiting,
mustn't dawdle...
but a girl!
What a treat —
juicy and sweet,
picking berries to eat,
carrying a basket,
skipping through the wood
in my 'hood.

Illustrations by Josée Masse are bold, bright and gorgeous, cleverly bringing out the two perspectives of the reverso poems.  I loved reading this aloud making dramatic pauses to bring out the differences that the same words in reverse order presents, allowing us to discover the two perspectives.

This has become one of my recent top favorite books. [Here's an interview with author Marilyn Singer about her creative process for this book].


Choxbox said...

What a gem!

Okay I have an idea based on this.. off to try it out with the child - thanks!

Vidya said...

Sounds fun! Would love to get hold of the book!

pantaloonsindia said...

It's a really interesting blog! :)

sandhya said...

@Chox: Do share what happened!

Lovely, Sheela! A great way of re-telling a tale, isn't it?

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