Tuesday, November 2, 2010

2nd November Jeannie Baker (1950)

Jeannie Baker was born in England but has lived in Australia for a long time now and the arrival of a new book of hers is always eagerly anticipated. Recently I went to the launch of her latest, Mirror and it certainly did not disappoint. It is unique in its format and the collages are meticulously awe-inspiring. How she makes everything so perfectly and on such a small scale never ceases to amaze me. The original artwork was exhibited at a museum for all to view and wonder at. The book is also groundbreaking in its storyline, allowing the reader to follow a day in the life of two boys, one in inner-city Sydney, Australia and the other in small-village Morocco, Northern Africa. Turning one page on the right of the book (in English), at the same time as turning one on the left (in Arabic) allows the reader to follow both wordless stories at once. And while it would be easy to compile a list of differences between the two boys, their lives, homes and environment, it is also easy to see the similarities that they share despite the vast physical distance between them. This book works on many levels and offers children of all ages many insights. It is just at home in a Year 2 classroom as it would be in a Year 10 classroom. This will be a state-of-the art picture book for a very long time and is certainly on the not-to-be-missed list!

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