This mostly wordless book shows one day in the lives of two boys, one in Australia, and one in Morocco, North Africa. The differences and similarities of their lives are shown in detailed and expressive collage artwork. As the author writes in an afterword, "â€¦outward appearances may be very different but the inner person of a 'stranger' may not be a stranger at all." The book is constructed in two halves, one introduced in English, the other in Arabic. This is a beautifully conceived and wrought project, supported by the Australian Council for the Arts. For ages four to eight.© 2011 ForeWord Reviews. All Rights Reserved.
This entirely original book is a strong contender to bring to a desert island, especially as it's two books in one. Open the "books" simultaneously, in English from left to right and in Arabic from right to left. Scan the pictures and compare family life and global interdependence as the panorama of urban and rural scenes from two very different countries unfolds. Wordless, except for an introduction and an illustrator's afterword in English and Arabic, the pictures allow readers to meet an Australian boy and a Moroccan boy whose lives become interconnected. The Moroccan boy and his father sell a rug woven in their rural home, and it ends up in Sydney, in a small house that is being renovated by an Australian family. As the boy in Australia draws a picture of his new "flying carpet," the Moroccan boy sets up his computer, bought with profits from the rug. Baker's entrancing collages, packed with visual information and created with fabric, sand, vegetation and other unusual materials, have the power to bring back child and adult viewers for infinite "readings." Perfectly spectacular. (Picture book. All ages)Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
Opening this expertly designed picture book reveals two parallel wordless tales: one to be read left to right, the other right to left. The stories follow a day in the family life of two boys, who live in urban Australia and the Valley of Roses in southern Morocco, respectively, as Baker explains in an afterword, written in English and Arabic. In layered, three-dimensional collages, Baker shows the differences between the families (traveling to an open-air market by donkey versus a trip to a hardware megastore in a CitroĂ«n), but it is the underlying commonalities--helping parents, doing chores, caring for pets, sharing meals--that will resonate most. Ages 5-7. (Nov.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
PreS-Gr 4--In Window (1991) and Home (2004, both Greenwillow), Baker combined a concept, her signature collages, and a wordless format to underscore environmental issues. Mirror illuminates the common humanity beneath the surface of cultural differences. In a clever design, two sets of bound signatures face one another, the gatherings reversed from their normal location inside the spine; readers manipulate the two openings simultaneously. In parallel narratives, two boys awaken in the moonlight, accompany their fathers on an errand, and return home. In the story on the left, the destination is a hardware emporium in Sydney, Australia. Materials for an indoor fireplace are purchased and put in a van. The right side occurs in Morocco. Father and son mount a donkey and travel a long distance to sell a hand-woven rug and buy a computer at the market. After a family dinner, they turn it on and the Australians settle onto a fireside carpet matching the one in the other story. The size, shape, and number of the panels in one story are reflected in the other, a choice that assists with comparison. English and Arabic paragraphs introduce the visual narratives. A diagram indicates the right-to-left orientation of the Moroccan story. Baker's skill in orchestrating fabric, vegetation, clay, and other materials into scenes with the proper scale and convincing depth is a wonder to behold. The author's notes hint at her purpose and process. A fresh take on a timely and timeless message.--Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library[Page 69]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.