Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse

Marilyn Singer has created a form of poetry called the reverso. Her explanation for a reverso is "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." Here is her example of what she is describing:

A cat                                    Incomplete:
without                                 A chair
a chair:                                 without
Incomplete                           a cat

Singer has now written an entire book of reversos, with a fairy tale theme, called Mirror Mirror. These poems are incredibly clever showing two points of view within a particular fairy tale. In the poem In the Hood, Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf each present their point of view of a moment in time:

In my hood                                          After all, Grandma's waiting,
skipping through the wood,                  mustn't dawdle...
carrying a basket,                                But a girl!
picking berries to eat-                          What a treat-
juicy and sweet                                    juicy and sweet,
what a treat!                                        picking berries to eat,
But a girl                                             carrying a basket,
mustn't dawdle.                                   skipping through the wood
After all, Grandma's waiting                 in my 'hood

Josee Masse's beautiful illustrations create a classic fairy tale look with rich colors and expressive characters.  Mirror Mirror is an expressive piece of poetry that should be added to your poetry and/or fairy tale units. This would be a great text to use for teaching point of view, contrasting, or for trying to write a new form of poetry.  Using poetry to teach comprehension lessons is a natural because of the short amount of text to read. 

If you are an aspiring writer, check out Marilyn's website for several tips on writing and the book business.

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