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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Mirror by Jeannie Baker

Two diverse countries and cultures are linked with warmth and charm in this two-in-one picture book. This innovative picture book comprises two stories designed to be read simultaneously - one from the left, the other from the right. Page by page, we experience the lives of two little boys - one from an urban family in Sydney, Australia, the other from Morocco. From busy motorways to desert landscapes, these worlds couldn't be further apart. Yet with the journey of a homemade Moroccan carpet into the Australian boy's home, we can see how these separate lives become intertwined. At the book's conclusion, the family in Sydney can be seen enjoying their new purchase together while the Moroccan family are surfing the Internet. A powerful book, "Mirror" illustrates how our lives reflect each other and that we are all, even in some small way, connected. It features innovative dual-book format, effectively communicating the way people's experiences and values are shared, despite geographical and cultural differences. The essential story is conveyed wordlessly, while the short introduction and author's note appear in both English and Arabic. There is a keystone in the vital bridge across the East-West gap
This book is two books in one. The book is opened as usual and each cover has a book attached to it. The books are based in Australia and Morocco and tell the same story - each reflecting life in that country.
The book provides a pictorial comparison of life within the two countries. The pictures have a collage appearance to them, they are not photographs and at the back of the books, the author describes how each page started as a drawing, which is then constructed on a baseboard where each layer/component is added using combinations of materials to construct the picture. The pictures are really cleverly constructed with details included.
The book reminds us of the stark contrast of life in the two countries and will be a great talking point for groups or classes who are studying life around the world.
I really enjoyed looking at this book and plan on finding other books written by Jeannie Baker and looking in awe at her stunning collages.
Thank you to Walker Books Limited for sending me this book to review.

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