Saturday, April 7, 2012

Mirror by Jeannie Baker

Rating: 4 out of 5 (for kids over 5)
Rating: 1 out of 5 (for us)
Reading level: Ages 5 and up
Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Candlewick; Bilingual edition (November 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0763648485
ISBN-13: 978-0763648480

Mirror is the wordless picture storybook of two boys in two different cultures from across the globe. The pictures tell the story of a day in their lives and how they "mirror" each other even though they are from different cultures.
There are two boys and two families in this book. One family lives in a city in Australia and one lives in Morocco in North Africa. The lives of the two boys and their families look very different from each other and they are different. But some things connect them ... just as some things are the same for all families no matter where they live.
 Both stories are told similtaneously in the one book. So when you open the book it opens in the middle with one picture book story on one side and the other story on the other side. So you essentially have two books laying side by side. The goal is to turn the pages of each book together so you can see how similar and different each little boys life is.

The illustrations are collages and is exquisite in its detail. The illustrations really do make this book. There is so much information contained in each image. I don't think you could full appreciate everything each image contributes on one reading. It would be something you can go back to over and over and discover something new.

Here is a sample of the mages so you get the idea  of the art work:

The book is thought provoking for little ones and would allow you to have discussions about different cultures. I can see why it has won so many literary awards in Australia. What would be really cool is if the author planned on doing this as a series with different cultures from around the world. But that might be pretty ambitious. I can see this book being used in schools to help promote multiculturalism.

Because there were no words unfortunately my two year old just wasnt interested. Especially as there were no fish, animals, or really bright colours or funny noises to read out. You could probably show it to children younger then 5 as a starting point but don't expect them to really get much out of it. This is definitely a book for older children.

Overall a beautiful book that helps raise awareness on tolerance and understanding of different cultures. I gave this a 4 out of 5 for older kids for the discussion value. If you want a good story then this is perhaps not the book for you  but if you want something that will provoke thoughtful conversations then this is it.

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