Double City: Mirror

I had meant to post more regularly during the comment challenge but first my internet, and then my computer died. But now, I am back in business and shall do my best to keep up.

It's tempting to place Jeannie Baker's Mirror into the familiar category of "country v. city" book. However, it is much more than that. First of all, there is no annoying message that "my home is best" and secondly, there are no mice.

Baker illustrates two parallel worlds: urban Sydney Australia and rural Morocco's Valley of the Roses.  She cleverly structures the book to open from the center so that we may see these worlds simultaneously. I like how this format is a means of uniting separate worlds. I could insert a lot of philosophy mumbo-jumbo here about the coming together of cultures, understanding differences, one planet=one people, etc., etc., but you get the idea.

Side by side: urban on left, rural on the right, we follow the two families through a day of, viewing the differences between commutes, market places, and meals. The purchase of a rug unites them as does the twist at the end in which the supposedly high-tech urban society gathers around a low-tech map and the supposedly low tech family enjoys connecting to the world through the Internet.

I think this is a brilliant book and Baker's cut paper 3-dimensional collages are as outstanding here as they were in Home. This is a wordless book and you need to take some time to pour over and study the details in each double page spread, comparing and contrasting the ways of life. In the end note, Baker reveals some of her collage-making secrets -- she has a lot of patience!

Highly Recommended.

Want More?
Read my review for her book, Home.
Visit the author's website.
Read about the book in the NY Times.

Big Kid says: I like the ending.
Little Kid says: I see lots of buses.


Alex said...

This book sounds so good. I love that city/country are presented as equal, not one better than the other. I love dimensional collage and can't want to see how it is done here.

And living in NYC near the construction for the 2nd Avenue Subway to Nowhere, I am glad there are no mice. I am tired of mice.

I also love wordless books that give kids a chance to make up as many stories as they want.

This sounds like a great book. Thanks for your great review.

Kim Van Sickler said...

Whoa! A wordless book. You've written a [powerful homage to it. Thanks for introducing me to it and for stopping by the Swagger site!

Bibliovore said...

I liked this book very much, especially since pieces of each others' worlds crept across the pages.

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I am visiting from the Comment Challenge and I LOVE the idea for this blog! I grew up in NYC. Mirror sounds beautiful and clever - I'd really love to read it. I can see that you don't always review picture books, but i have a feature on my blog called Perfect Picture Book Fridays where any blogger who is interested in participating can post a highly recommended picture book along with resources for expanding its use at home and in the classroom. For full info, I'll put a link at the bottom. But I would LOVE to have you join us with your unique group of books. So glad I found your blog!


For full PPB info:

For a sample PPB post:

Raising a Happy Child said...

Ironically, I just ordered this book through our Interlib by reading about it on the other blog. It sounds fascinating.

The Pen and Ink Blog said...

Thanks for the review. I put it on my ever growing TBR list. There is another book on that list called Chalk. Also a no word book.

Amy said...

Great review! I've read this, and thought the connections at the end, the rug and technology, were the perfect way to close. And the art was amazing!

Mindy said...

Thanks for the review. I think there is so much potential for classroom use & discussion with this book. It's really remarkable.

Playing by the book said...

I really love the sound of this book. I think a wordless book can work very well for those books that have a "bigger message" - they can say it without falling into schmalz or being patronizing.

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