Mirror By Jeannie Baker

 

 

mirror

I actually had never heard of this particular Jeannie Baker book, until I stumbled across it at school. Now I can’t believe I hadn’t heard of it, because, like all Jeannie Baker’s books, it’s a beauty!

Summary:

Two gorgeous wordless picture books open out side by side within the cover of Mirror. One is set in Sydney, Australia, the other in The Valley of Roses, in southern Morocco.

The pages detail a day in the life of an ordinary family in each of the two settings. We see the families at home and running errands, doing chores etc.

The intention, as laid out on the first page, is that the two books are ‘read’ at the same time, and as you turn through the pages you are able to make direct comparisons to the lives of the people on the pages. Starting at daybreak and finishing with evening, this book clearly shows the many differences, but also the many similarities between the two cultures.

Why I love it:

I love anything that sets out to remind us that, at heart, we are all alike. Though our appearances and our surroundings may differ, our lives themselves are fuelled by the same elements: family, community and friends.

There is so much to be noticed and discussed within these two versions of the same book; you could literally spend  hours with this book at home, or do a complete unit of work on it for a classroom or home-school situation. It’s fascinating and, in some ways, quite surprising. I’m fairly confident that everyone will enjoy this book and get a lot out of studying it.

Themes to discuss with your child:

  • The world
  • Different cultures
  • Similarities and differences
  • Lifestyle
  • Landscape
  • Livelihood
  • Routines
  • Family
  • Friends
  • Community
  • Compassion and understanding

Questions to ask your child:

Before reading:

  • What do you think this book might be about?
  • Do you think this is a fiction book (a story) or a non-fiction book (facts)?
  • Is this a book you want to read? Why/why not?
  • What do you think the medal on the cover means? Does this influence the way you feel about reading the book?
  • Have a close look at the picture on the cover; how do you think it was made?
  • How many cars can you count on the cover?
  • Where do you think the story is set?
  • Now open the book out and look at the front and back covers at the same time and tell me what you notice?
  • What is different about the two covers? What is the same?
After reading:
  • Did you enjoy this story? Why/why not?
  • What is something you think you have learned through reading this book?
  • Have you ever seen a book like this before?
  • Why do you think the two stories were laid out the way they were?
  • Can you list three differences and three similarities about the two stories?
  • Why do you think Jeannie Baker decided to make this book?

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