Bookmark Monday: Mirror Mirror

One for the more advanced reader set this week.

A book on reversible verse, or what author Marilyn Singer calls reverso, it challenges the typical way in which we read poems, i.e. down a page.  Per the explanatory notes on the back page, when you read a reverso down, it is one poem.  When you read it up, with changes allowed only in punctuation and capitalization, it is a different poem.

In this book, Singer has used the reverso format on fairy tales to tell two sides of one story.

Take for example, “Have Another Chocolate” based on Hansel and Gretel.

Fatten up, boy!
Don’t you
like prime rib?
Then your hostess, she will roast you
Have another chocolate.
Eat another piece of gingerbread.
When you hold it out,
your finger
feels like
a bone.
Fatten up.
keep her waiting…


Keep her waiting.
fatten up.
A bone
feels like
your finger
when you hold it out.
Eat another piece of gingerbread,
Have another chocolate –
Then your hostess, she will roast you
like prime rib.
Don’t you
fatten up, boy!

Employing contrast and symmetry to create split images of the two sides of the poem, illustrator Josee Masse provides a perfect visual complement to Singer’s verbal compositions. 

A truly enjoyable book with potential to demonstrate to young learners of the language usage and versatility of punctuation and capitalization. And definitely worth the investment for the personal collection.

I was intrigued by Singer’s encouragement note to the reader to try creating a reverso for themselves…and spent a couple of minutes attempting one of my own for Bookmark Monday. I know it is nothing very incredible, but it is a start, and I certainly did have fun!


Bookmark Monday:
a book.

A book
Bookmark Monday


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One response to “Bookmark Monday: Mirror Mirror”

  1. Adeline Yang says :

    Love this Gwen …. amazing stuff : ) by the way i’ve never had that million year question posted to me by either of my children so i really don’t know what i would say yet ! : ( You should research and let me know what to say given DS’ interest in dinos !!!! : ) : )

    Love your reviews and love the poem.

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