23 Nov / Mirror by Suzy Lee
A lone little girl looks up to see a reflection of herself on the other page. Surprised, she checks again with just one eye, making sure the reflection is still there. No longer alone, the girl is initially a bit shy then becomes downright goofy.
She realizes she’s found a glorious new playmate … hasn’t she? She shuffles, twirls, spins, and dances, literally awash in vibrant yellows and orange bursts of energy. But when that playmate won’t … well … mirror her anymore, the little girl pushes away – literally – in a fit of impatience and the consequences prove irreversible.
Artist/author Suzy Lee creates another wordless wonder, this one definitively more somber than her other titles that include The Zoo and Shadow. Without words, her readers are left to create their own stories, to depend on their own imaginations to fill in the silent spaces. Each of Lee’s titles are thought-provoking opportunities to engage young minds in fresh new ways every time her books are opened.
A recent New York Times article, “Picture Books No Longer a Staple for Children,” reported on the disturbing downturn of the picture book publishing industry, citing as one possible factor parents who push their children towards text-heavy books at younger and younger ages. The children’s book manager of our own local rock star bookstore, Politics and Prose, wryly commented for the article, “‘It’s a terrible pressure parents are feeling – that somehow, I shouldn’t let my child have this picture book because she won’t get into Harvard.'” Egads!
For such over-anxious parents out there, might I suggest they start with the two textless Mirrors (both out this year!) … this and Jeannie Baker’s Mirror? Both will certainly give a young child’s imagination the challenging sort of workout for growing those brain cells. Much better than pushing kids to sound out four-syllable words before their time, parents can (should!) engage their kids’ boundless imagination with promising picture books like this (and so many more). Too soon, they will consider themselves too old to read with you. Cuddle up now before it’s too late …