Mirror by Jeannie Baker

by |August 16, 2010

When I first saw a finished copy of the peerless Mirror I knew that I was holding in my hand a book that was quite unique.

This is the kind of picture book I would have loved to have when my kids were still in primary school. For a start, it is stunningly beautiful, full of Baker’s wonderfully imaginative collages, fabric work and embellishments, and you can see what I mean by looking at the internal images we have loaded here (as well information about just how she managed to create those images).

But it is so much more than just beautiful. It comprises two wordless parallel stories that link two boys worlds apart. The book can be read front to back or back to front as is appropriate given its settings in both a suburb in Sydney and a village in Morocco. This is a book to look at, to talk about and to share with a child over the age of five. From the point of view of an adult however, this is also a book to treasure.

I should also point out that this hardback is actually two books in one, and includes a title page and introduction in both English (at the front) and Arabic (at the back – or in fact, at the front if you are used to reading in Arabic). I have never seen a book designed like this before.

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  • Clare Brennan

    September 17, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    Mirror is a work of art and beauty. It offers intriguing insights into life in Morocco and compares it to western life. Stunning pictures and a wonderful layout make it a great book. My kids adore it.

  • toniwhitmont

    September 17, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    Hi Clare,
    I happened to catch Jeanne Baker being interviewed on the Book Show with Ramona Koval yesterday. National treasures, both of them. I think there is an exhibition of Baker’s work doing the rounds at the moment. Not sure where you live but I reckon the kids would really love it.
    Cheers

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