National Poetry Month: Mirror Mirror

04.07.11
Age: 3-55-8 Theme: Poetry

04.07.11 • 8:43 pm EDT | 0 responses |

Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer and illustrations by Josée Masse

Receiving six starred reviews at its debut in 2010, this poetic new take on timeless fairy tales promises and delivers. It has become popular in schools and libraries, and your child may see poetry and life from a different perspective. Fresh and inventive, a child may read a poetic turn of such tales as “Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf,” “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “Rapunzel” and others. The clever poems read top to bottom on one side, stating one of the principals’ point of view, and right next to it the lines are reversed, and boy, does the meaning change! Confused? Hold on for a bit and I shall decipher. Ever hear of the saying “There are two sides to every story and the truth lies somewhere in the middle”? Well, here is the poetic equivalent of that quote. Your child decides where their sympathies lie after reading the poem both ways. Example: In “Bears in the News,” a fresh and funny take on the Goldilocks fiasco, one wonders after reading both versions: Okay, so Goldilocks feels justified in breaking and entering as the front door was left unlocked; but wait a sec, as the three bears get their bearings (sorry), did she have to eat all the porridge and break the chair? Kids and parents, I ask you, whose side are you on?

I’ll give you a second scenario in “The Sleeping Beauty and the Wide-Awake Prince.” Sleeping Beauty: Think it’s easy lying around asleep in a tower for centuries while the world passes by? Prince: Hacking through forests of prickly bloodletting briars with a sword is no picnic either, even when at the end you get to kiss the princess! You never get to party or sleep, just hack—some fun, huh? The poems are a hoot and are sure to provoke discussion on either side, depending on one’s sympathies.

Personally, if you ask me, after reading the poem “Bears in the News,” my vote was Bruins 3, Goldilocks 1. She could have left some porridge for the smallest bear or fixed the chair. My mother always taught me to clean up my messes or, hey, at the very least leave a note!

The magic of this book of poetry is in the read-aloud, so parents, please create some new poetry buffs with Mirror Mirror.

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