Module 9: Mirror Mirror


Book Summary: This is such a clever poetry book where the poems have one meaning when read downwards and a different meaning when read upwards. The illustrations accompanying the “reverso” poems are amusing and reflect the dual nature of the poems. The poems are themed around traditional fairytales.

APA Reference of Book: Singer, M., & Massee, J. (2010). Mirror mirror: a book of reversible verse. New York: Dutton Children’s Books.

Impressions: I was really entertained by the poems in this book and impressed — they must have taken quite some time to write! The illustrations are quite beautiful, as well. Readers can tell how much time and effort has gone into producing this amusing and effective poetry book.

Professional Review (of audiobook):  Gepson, L. (2012). Mirror, Mirror. Booklist, 108(14), 72.

What is a reverso? “When you read a reverso down, it is one poem, and when you read it
up, it is a different poem.” For example, “The road leads wherever you need to go” becomes “You need to go wherever the road leads” in reverse. Singer and Morton read this collection of 14 original reverso poems based on fairy-tale characters. Singer’s hardcover picture book (included with the CD) features the original and reverso version of one poem on one page, with Josée Masse’s imaginative acrylic artwork on the opposite page. The dual narrators change in inflections, intonations, and word emphases to reflect the characters’ thoughts, which reveal different intentions based on word order. In the double reading of “Do You Know My Name?,” Rumpelstiltskin screams his anger, while the princess softly bemoans her fate in reverse order. The audio, featuring gentle original background music and ambient sound effects (cawing crows, howling wolves, snipping scissors, and more), is visually delightful and charmingly narrated. Kids will want to listen over and over to savor the duality of meanings. Hats off to Live Oak for this fresh take on Singer’s time-honored poems featuring Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, and Little Red Riding Hood, among others.

Library Uses: What a wonderful introduction to a poetry writing exercise in the library! Students will enjoy reading these very much, and could then be challenged to work with a partner to write their own reverso fairytale poem.