About the Holiday
Can it be that National Book Month is almost over? No worries, though! We’re about to start Picture Book Month, so gather as many books as you can from your local bookstore and library and enjoy the best activity there is!
By Monte Shin
There’s no denying that mirrors are beguiling. Looking into one shows you just what you look like—or does it? Well, left is right and right is left, but a mirror gives you a pretty good idea whether your hair looks good, your outfit matches, and if you’re ready to face the world. Little ones, especially, are mesmerized by mirrors that give them the first glimpse of themselves and their smiles, frowns, and giggles.
The magic of mirrors to reflect an image is used to remarkable effect in Monte Shin’s cool and clever Mirror Play. The book’s ingenious design includes twelve thick pages in the middle of which is set a colorful, and sometimes complex, shape that rotates a full circle. A shiny surface that creates a perfectly clear reflection is incorporated into a fold-out attached to the back cover. Together, these two elements can keep children (and adults) riveted to the many figures that can be made simply by setting the mirror at a 90-degree angle in the middle of the page and turning the shape this way and that.
One stop along the shape’s trajectory creates an image that is instantly recognized and which answers the question on the next page. For example, the first page contains a blue cone with a wing attached to its left side floating on a red background marked with chalk-outlined clouds. Set the mirror at the provided notches and turn the cone slightly, and an airplane appears! Turn the cone more and more and you find what might be a butterfly, a jet, a tent, a clothespin, a kite, a gavel, and an arrowhead.
Turning the book to the right, to the left, and upside down also provides new perspectives on the shapes and images that appear. On a page splotched deep red, a curious shape might become a water beetle, an alien, a fish, a badge or an acorn, a heart, a rabbit, two birds beak to beak, a fly, and a mosquito.
Backdrops of a lily pad, a block of cheddar-cheese yellow, polka dots, leaves, and a mountain peak, among others, give young explorers hints as to what the asked-for figure might be. Finding the answers to these questions is fun, but it’s only the beginning to discovering a world of geometric shapes, abstract designs, and imaginary creatures.
Mirror Play is an excellent choice as a gift for toddlers and preschool children. It would be a go-to book for interactive story times as well as for taking along on outings or whenever waiting will be part of the day. Older kids may also enjoy the challenge of discovering the various shapes and designs they can make with this “magic” mirror.
Ages 3 – 5
Minedition, 2018 | ISBN 978-9888341535
National Book Month Activity
Shape Sticks Game
With some popsicle sticks and markers, you can make a colorful matching game for little ones!
- Popsicle sticks – long or short
- Choose a marker and on the ends of three popsicle stick draw a different shape, for example: popsicle stick 1: square and circle; popsicle stick 2: square and triangle; popsicle stick 3: triangle and circle
- Repeat with other colors of markers
- On a table or the floor, children can lay the sticks down to match the same shape or color until all the sticks have been used. Sticks can be laid down end-to-end or end-to-side.
You can also make a set of popsicle sticks drawn with all the same shape in different colors to have a larger color-matching game
Older children may enjoy making their own sets of Shape Sticks and experimenting with a larger number of sticks and different patterns and colors.
You can find Mirror Play at these booksellers
Picture Book Review