Written from dual perspectives, Jeannie Baker's Mirror is a treat of a read. The pictures take the reader through the lives of two families, one in Australia and one in Morocco, North Africa. The author's intention was to frame the differences and the similarities of the two living patterns of the families, albeit in such dramatically different places. But there is more here, much more that the readers are welcomed into experiencing.
From the start, the reader knows this is a different book. When I open this book, I immediately notice two books: one on the left and one on the right, with the left side pages turning open to my left, and the right side pages opening to my right. Ohh, masterful! But get this: the left side words, the words on the left side are written in English, and the words on the right side are written in Arabic. These are almost the only words in the book, but the author's framing here at the beginning so impacted how I viewed this book. Still, four reads later, when I open the book, my eyes widen when the words come into my view. Seriously.
Opening the books, one finds the cover pages, one in English and one in Arabic. Turning to the first pages of each book, meant to be read simultaneously, shows the collages of pictures that tell the story. Each one is gorgeous, inviting the reader to peer more deeply into the details captured in each illustration. One little surprise for me was learning how Arabic is written right to left, and in turn, how this book offers young (and older, at least for me!) readers new understandings in how books are read by another culture, this one in Morocco.
See, you just have to go find this book. I am stunned by it. The story-- oh, that has its own sweet surprises!-- is solid, the cover beautiful, the framing authentic. What is there not to appreciate about this work of art?