Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer, one of my most anticipated new books of the year, was released last week. My copy arrived on Thursday and I have been reading it in savory bits since then, not wanting to read it all in one sitting although it can be done in just a few minutes. It's a picture book of short poetry, after all.
I'll admit, I was scared. I ADORE the companion title, Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse. When it was released three years ago, it lived in my living room for months, awaiting my next visitor (victim) to be shown its wondrous glory. (And books do not reside in my living room. I have a few book-free zones in the house to preserve sanity.) Well, my visitors were impressed, but it helps if you love fairy tales and poetry, or at least fairy tales. I love both and appreciate the careful wordsmithing that these books require. So does the new book live up to my hope and hype?
YES! It does. In fact, it may surpass it. I have favorites in the first book, and some lesser favorites that were not as strong for me. I would skip over those when sharing the book with my unsuspecting victims. With this new book, I won't be skipping any. Wherever the book may fall open, I will read and share. I would only choose favorites based on favorite fairy tales, not the poem itself, for each reverso is strong. Margaret Singer has perfected her invented form quite well.
Once upon a time, Mirror Mirror, a brilliant book of fairy tale themed reversos – a poetic form in which the poem is presented forward and then backward – became a smashing success. Now a second book is here with more witty double takes on well-loved fairy tales such as Thumbelina and The Little Mermaid.
Read these clever poems from top to bottom and they mean one thing. Then reverse the lines and read from bottom to top and they mean something else - it is almost like magic!
A celebration of sight, sound, and story, this book is a marvel to read again and again.
And usually this means that the reverse poem gives a different character's perspectives on the events of the tale. It makes an excellent classroom book for teaching writing, perspective, fairy tales, so much!
Here's an excerpt from the Little Mermaid poem that illustrates:
give up your voice.
And in reverse:
Give up your voice
To entice you fairy tale fans, here is the Table of Contents. See all of the lesser known tales you adore?
Fairy Tales (general poem about writing)
Your Wish Is My Command (Aladdin)
Birthday Suit (Emperor's New Clothes)
Silly Goose (Golden Goose)
Ready, Steady, Go! (Tortoise and the Hare)
Will the Real Princess Please Stand Up? (Princess and the Pea)
The Little Mermaid's Choice (Little Mermaid)
Panache (Puss in Boots)
Follow Follow (Pied Piper)
No Bigger Than Your Thumb (Thumbelina)
Can't Blow This House Down (Three Little Pigs)
The Nightingale's Emperor (The Nightingale)
On With the Dance (Twelve Dancing Princesses)
Now It's Time to Say Goodnight (general ending poem)
Finally, the poems are enhanced by Josée Masse's illustrations, too. The bright colors and opposites portrayed are charming and will pull in younger readers. Wonderful wonderful!