Mirror: A Reflection of All of Us


Mirror by Jeannie Baker

This book tells two stories at the same time from two distinctly different cultures.  Each story focuses on a family and a day in their lives.   One story is set in Sydney, Australia where a boy lives with his family and baby sibling.  They drive a minivan to the hardware store to get more materials to renovate their home.  The other story features a family in Morocco.  Here too a boy lives with his family and his little sibling.  They travel to the market by donkey to sell a rug, some sheep and some chickens.  That same rug is the one picked out by the Australian family at a rug store to have in their home.  The entire book is a celebration of the interconnected nature of our lives no matter what nation we live in.

The book can be read in several ways, either both stories at the same time, or each one completely separately.  It opens with the Australian story with an English introduction on the left which is read from left to right.   The Moroccan story is on the left with an introduction in Arabic.  The entire Moroccan section is read right to left just like Arabic.  Each story has its own separate pages bound together with a shared spine and cover, which I see as very symbolic of the entire book concept.

After the introductions, the bulk of the book is wordless.  Through Baker’s incredibly delicate and detailed collage illustrations, readers will discover the universal nature of the two cultures and also their differences.  Baker shows different foods, different pets, different transportation, different lands but the stories are so similar, the families so alike, that the focus is never on the differences but on the similarities.

This is a masterpiece of a picture book.  While not appropriate for a story time, it is a book that should be shared for its celebration of diversity, multiculturalism, and humanity.

Reviewed from library copy.

To get a better sense of the structure of the book, take a look at the video below:

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Messing with Classics

Last week, I posted about an upcoming movie version of Peter Pan with the working title of Peter Pan Begins.  My hopes were not high for the film, given the disappointments of previous Peter Pan films.  I mean, you know that it’s bad when it’s the Disney version that was the best version done yet.

I thought my expectations could not be lowered, but I should not have feared.  They were lowered.  Considerably.

According to Cinematical, the film being pitched as Peter Pan Begins rethinks the relationship between Peter and Captain Hook.  They are writing Peter Pan and Captain Hook as BROTHERS. 

Ugh.  Ick.  Sigh.