Reviews provided by Syndetics
Publishers Weekly Review
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 CitroIn), but it is the underlying commonalities-helping parents, doing chores, caring for pets, sharing meals-that will resonate most. Ages 5-7. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal Review
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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
This quiet, inventive, mostly wordless picture book follows two boys on opposite sides of the world through a single day, highlighting the differences and universalities in their lives. Meant to be read simultaneously, the stories appear side by side as separate mini-books bound within the same covers, while brief, introductory lines of text in English and Arabic introduce the boys, one in urban Australia and one in rural Morocco. The wordless accounts begin in strict parallel, with pages subdivided into symmetrical scenes of each boy's family life, from breakfast to daytime excursions and finally to supper. Baker allows her stories to unfold naturally, and the cultural connections never feel forced; the boys investigate a curiosity at the market or remember a younger sibling, each in his own way. That sense of verisimilitude gives a depth to the simple, common experiences, which resonate across pages and cultures. In disparate, detailed landscapes rendered in her trademark style of three-dimensional, mixed-media collage, Baker creates a moving reminder of what we all share.--Barthelmess, Thom Copyright 2010 Booklist
Horn Book Review
Two side-by-side wordless stories mirror each other in more ways than one. Pages attached to the front inside cover open to the left and show a boy in Sydney, Australia. On the opposite cover, pages open to the right and follow a boy in rural Morocco. A bilingual introduction notes that the boys' lives are different but also similar, and the nifty comparisons begin on the covers, as each boy looks out a window at the moon; a big city and a remote village, but the same moon. (And two very different animals appear in the pictures -- an Australian brushtail possum and a crane in Morocco -- but both are known to frequent rooftops.) The stories begin with the families preparing for a father-son outing -- one by car to a hardware store, the other by donkey to a marketplace. Baker's minutely detailed collage art will keep viewers busy searching for comparisons, which are made easier with similar-colored clothing (the fathers in light blue, the baby siblings in yellow, etc.). Scenes that seem starkly different slowly reveal similarities (busy streets versus unpopulated mountains and valleys, yet the squiggly lines of highway resemble the winding path in Morocco); some scenes share unexpected commonalities (at the store in Sydney are a man in a turban and a woman in a headscarf; at the marketplace, people talk on cell phones). Viewers will thrill to see the Moroccan dad selling a carpet (woven by the boy's mother) to a man, while on the facing spread the Australian dad buys that same rug from the same man at a shop called 'Magic Carpets.' Magic, indeed. JENNIFER M. BRABANDER (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
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 Reviews, used with permission.