Module 14: Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer

61v-WHRXuSL__SL500_AA300_Title: Mirror Mirror

Author: Marilyn Singer

Illustrator: Josee Masse

Publisher: Penguin Group

Published Date: 2010


What is a poem? What is a poem in reverse? This artistically drawn and written book takes you to the land of fairy tales and tells you both sides of the story.

APA Reference:

Singer, M. (2010). Mirror mirror. New York, NY: Penguin Group.


I LOVED this book. I want to write poems just so I can reverse them and make new poems. You know why? Because it’s awesome!! Read this, you will be mesmerized!

Professional Review:

Gr 2-5–Marilyn Singer’s innovative book (Dutton, 2012) presents poetry based on fairy tales that can be read in two ways–the lines can be read from top to bottom and from bottom to top. Crafted in a minimalistic free verse, each set of reversible poems presents the thoughts of characters from various fairy tales. Sometimes the two poems give two points of view of the same character, while other sets represent two different characters in the same fairy tale. For example, the Cinderella poems portray Cinderella’s attitude before and during the ball, while the Red Riding Hood verses are written from the girl’s and then the wolf’s point of view. Each set of poems is illustrated with Josee Massee’s stylized acrylic artwork in rich jewel tones. She skillfully incorporates the characters of the poems and the idea of mirror images into each of her illustrations. The female parts are read by the author, while the male characters are voiced by Joe Morton. Both readers skillfully use tempo, expression, and inflection to make the meaning and feeling of the poems clear. Appropriate instrumental background music has been added to each poem. A great choice for a reading/listening center at school, or just for fun.

Cardon, D. (2011). Mirror, mirror: A book of verse in reverse. School Library Journal, 57(11), 69.

Library Use:

Poetry can be used in so many ways. Learning how to use it and read it is something that some don’t ever fully understand. Reading this book will help get kids involved in poetry.


Module 13: Naruto v. 1 by Masashi Kishimoto

51wkLM2ZS4L__SL500_AA300_Title: Naruto v. 1

Author: Masashi Kishimoto

Publisher: Viz Media

Published Date: 2003


Naruto believes he can be the greatest ninja in his village. It’s too bad that he can’t even pass his ninja apprentice test to actually become a ninja. After finally passing his test, he gets tested himself. Will he become a master ninja?

APA Reference:

Kishimoto, M. (2003). Naruto v. 1. Viz Media.


I had a hard time reading right to left and following the pictures at first. Once I got used to it, the story went by quickly and I caught on to how addictive this type of story can be. I don’t know about reading all 50 some odd books in the series, but I might give it a try.

Professional Review:

Naruto is young orphan who has grown up in the ninja village Konohagakure in Naruto, Volume 1. Despised and ridiculed all his young life, he has become the consummate prankster and hasn’t managed to pass the final exam at the Ninja Academy for several years. Then one ninja master, Misaki, encourages Naruto to steal a scroll containing many of the village’s long-held secret techniques, and in the ensuing chaos, Naruto learns the truth about himself. When he was an infant, the village fought a nine-tailed fox demon. The Lord Hokage defeated it and trapped it in Naruto’s young body and then died. Misaki tries to incite Naruto to seek vengeance for what was done to him, but the boy wants only to be the best shinobi (ninja leader) the village has ever seen. Now his training begins in earnest, as Naruto finds a few friends and tries to gain the respect of others–but he can’t stop playing pranks!
Masashi Kishimoto’s anime series Naruto is extremely popular in Japan, and fansubs (subtitled anime done by fans in the U.S. and allowed by the Japanese distributors) of the episodes appear online mere days after the original broadcast in Japan. The manga retains all of the humor, including some raunchy moments. Despite the fact that nothing crucial really shows, there is some partial nudity (Naruto’s “Ninja Centerfold” technique) and some literal bathroom humor. This series might not be suitable for school libraries, but public libraries should be able to place it in their young adult collections. Viz appropriately rates it for teens aged thirteen and up. Naruto is an underdog hero who appeals to teens, and there’s plenty of martial arts action to keep readers turning the pages. The story will turn a little darker further into the series, but according to my fansub-watching son, it will remain at the PG-13 level.

Kat, K. (2004). Let’s hear it for the guys. Voice of Youth Advocates, 27(2), 118-119.

Library Use:

Different kinds of media is important to art. That goes the same way with books and their readers. Those that can’t seem to sit for long periods of time and stare at endless pages of words will love this type reading. It’s quick, quirky and a blast to read. Showing readers that there are other options will give them a better chance of finding something they may like.

Module 12: Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein by Don Brown

odd-boy-out-300x285Title: Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein

Author: Don Brown

Illustrator: Don Brown

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Published Date: 2004


Albert Einstein was gifted from the very start. He was more than anyone knew how to handle. He was bored with normal school classes and his teachers thought he was dumb. Little did they know, he was more than they could ever imagine. A genius.

APA Reference:

Brown, D. (2004). Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin.


I can’t believe I didn’t know Einstein was German. Being German, I feel I should have know this. I now have an excuse for being lazy when not wanting to do homework, etc. I bored with these mundane tasks…give me more! Ha! I wish, but I did learn a lot about Einstein!!

Professional Review:

Brown maintains a delicate tension between his accessible presentation (a straightforward text and uncluttered illustrations) and his extraordinary subject (the legendary twentieth-century physicist whose complex ideas revolutionized science and daily life). For someone whose name is synonymous with genius, Albert Einstein’s early years were far from auspicious. Brown carefully and effectively summarizes events, choosing telling details to paint a portrait of an introspective child who struggles in school and whose frustrated teachers wonder if Albert is “dull-witted.” In the somber watercolor and ink illustrations, young Albert’s physical separation from other figures emphasizes his psychological disconnection from the goings on around him (as do his almost-always-closed eyes). Brown introduces Einstein’s famous theories with a light touch, keeping the focus on the boy/young man. The book’s message about different ways of and approaches to learning is clear and will surely be appreciated by the intended audience. An author’s note debunks a few myths surrounding the man and his work, and a short bibliography rounds out this inspired picture-book biography.

Flynn, K. (2004). Odd boy out: Young Albert Einstein. Horn Book Magazine, 80(5), 604-605.

Library Use:

There are stereotypes and preconceived notions about certain types of people. Einstein takes a couple of those and shows that it matters more about the person and that stereotype. Just because you don’t do well in school doesn’t mean you aren’t smart. You may not be challenged enough. Learning about past geniuses will make us more accepting of modern day smarty-pants’!

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