Bonjour my lovelies, it is Mad Martha with you today for a haiku review that is doubling as a submission in the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit Readers Challenge. If you haven’t yet heard about this fantastic and very user-friendly challenge you can click on the attractive button to the right. If you’d like to take a peek at some of the other challengees’ submissions, you can find them helpfully collated here.
I am pleased to submit the very first entry in category two, which in my opinion is the trickiest of the lot: a book with a piece of furniture in the title. My submission is Mirror by Jeannie Baker. I submit it under the sub-clause that a mirror is a furnishing, and therefore fits the category. Hey, it’s my challenge and I can bend the rules if I want to.
If you haven’t yet encountered Mirror (or indeed, any work by Jeannie Baker), then you, my dear friend, are missing out, for this particular work is a triumph of artistic and conceptual design. The wordless picture book follows the story of two young boys – one in Sydney, Australia and the other in the Valley of Roses in Morocco. In an ingenious twist however, the story follows the boys simultaneously across four pages, with each single page folding out to a double page spread, as pictured below. **Please note that the TARDIS pictured was merely being used to aid in keeping the pages still and has no relation to the events depicted in Mirror. As far as I know, anyway.**
In this way, the daily activities of each boy and his family are displayed side by side in glorious detail. On one side, information is displayed in English and on the other, Arabic, and so the book really reflects the concept of “two sides to every story”. Throughout the book keen-eyed readers are treated to Baker’s trademark collage art and the opportunity to search for repeated motifs across the boys’ activities. Apart from being a visual treat, the book is also a brilliant starting point for discussing similarities in the lives of those who seem, on the surface, to be living in very different contexts.
So here is my haiku:
Holding a mirror
to our preconceived notions
And here’s some more of the artwork to whet your appetite:
Now, I suggest you pursue this title without delay! And there’s still plenty of time to sign up for the Small Fry Safari Kid Lit Readers Challenge – it’s only eight books in total that you have to read to be able to say you have conquered the Safari! Join us on the Safari bus, we’d love to have you along.
Ta-ra my dears,