Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Mirror to Nature: Poems About Reflection

A Mirror to Nature: Poems About Reflection

Jane Yolen
Photographer: Jason Stemple
Poetry Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Boyds Mills Press, 2009   ISBN: 978-1590786246

Long before we humans had mirrors to look into, nature had its own mirror – water. In any body of water that is big enough - even in a large rain puddle - sky, clouds, trees, plants, and animals of all kinds can be seen. For this book, Jason Stemple has captured twelve images of nature reflected in water. Jane Jolen compliments his photos with a variety of poems that will encourage readers to look, and to reflect, on what they are seeing and reading.

The collection begins with a look at a raccoon that is swimming. With its reflection in the still water, the animal seems to be “halved” or “doubled.” It has four ears and four eyes.

On the next double page spread Jane Yolen invites us to see how we can  ourselves. All we need to do is to stand “in water smooth as glass,” just like the wood storks that are show in the photo. As they stand there seven storks become fourteen!

Rhyming, non-rhyming, and haiku poems go on to describe an alligator, a moorhen, a frog, and various other animals that are being “doubled” by images in a body of water. For each of the animals described, the author provides her readers with a little piece of further information. Among other things readers will learn that snails have just one foot, and that the American alligator has between seventy and eighty teeth.

Readers who enjoy this collection might like to look at Jane Yolen’s other poetry titles, which include Count me a rhyme and Fine feathered friends.