'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.' - author Jackie French

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Review: Mirror

Meet two boys and two families from different parts of the world – one from Sydney, Australia and the other Morocco in North Africa. Their lives are very different, but they also have things in common. Explore the pages to see how their lives mirror each other.

After a brief introduction, Jeannie Baker’s beautifully intricate collage artworks wordlessly share the story of a day in the life of each boy. The clever book design allows readers to move through each boy’s story simultaneously. This mirror-like effect makes the differences and similarities even more pronounced for young readers as they turn each page.

Mirror is an amazing book on so many levels. The illustrations are true artworks, the story is deceptively simple yet offers opportunities to think deeply about family, culture and everyday life, and the format supports the themes and message of the book beautifully. Even the text – the title page, introduction and Baker’s brief information page at the end of the book – is presented in English and Arabic, another opportunity for the two cultures to be compared and contrasted.

I have seen the artworks used for Mirror in an exhibition in Sydney and I was amazed at the intricacy and detail Baker obtains through her collages. There is such a sense of texture and perspective and vibrancy conveyed through the artwork, even through the reproductions used as illustrations for the book. 

Mirror is a book to be treasured, to be read and re-read with children who will spot new details each time they look through the pages. The book stirs the imagination and creates countless opportunities to talk about our own culture and everyday life as well as exploring the culture of the people of Morocco in a way that children (and adults) will find relatable and personal.

I am a huge fan of Jeannie Baker’s wordless picture books for their artistic value and depth of meaning, but Mirror is definitely my favourite. It is clever and thoughtful while still remaining an incredibly interesting and entertaining picture book to engage children of all ages. One of our family favourites.

Title:  Mirror
Author/Illustrator: Jeannie Baker
Publisher: Walker Books, $39.95 RRP
Publication Date: 1 August 2010
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781406309140
For ages: 3+
Type: Picture Book

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