Nonfiction Monday: A Mirror to Nature
First, a visual aid:
You ever seen one of these? This type of mirror trick has become a science museum mainstay for a reason – manipulating reflection often forces you to look at things in a new way. In A Mirror to Nature, Jane Yolen has created twelve poems about animals and their reflections. Paired with (Yolen’s son) Jason Stemple’s precise images, the collection should have some appeal to young naturalists and teachers looking to make literacy connections to the concept of symmetry.
In her opening note, Yolen reminds readers that water was the first mirror. While humans have only perfected the glass version relatively recently, the natural world is filled with quiet lakes and puddles that reveal all sorts of fascinating twists of reality. Over the course of the book, a variety of animals appear, in some way reflected in water. Accompanying each image is a poem. Ranging from humorous to contemplative, the poetic mood is varied. The format of the poems is also wide-ranging, including haiku and all manner (and length) of rhyming forms.
The photography is well done. Each crisp image captures its subject in a way that highlights the mirror-image effect of water. While mostly common species are presented, more unusual animals (Roseate spoonbill, cockle) are also included. A short note about each animal appears on the facing page, bringing to light additional bits of information.
I see teachers, who are always looking for ways to incorporate literacy across the curriculum, finding a use for this title. A Mirror to Nature would work well for a lesson on symmetry.
A Mirror to Nature is an overall capable poetry collection with appealing photographs and classroom functionality.
Find this book at your local library with WorldCat.
Check out the Nonfiction Monday roundup at Mommy’s Favorite Children’s Books.
(Image: ‘Anti-gravity Mirror‘
Filed under: Reviews
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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