MIRROR by Christina Darling


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A mirror left behind by her mother's friend, Jeanette, reflects not just the narrator's room, but a whole slew of magical things. At first the girl only suspects the mirror's magic, but when she accuses it of being ""ordinary,"" it starts to perform, reflecting fun-house exaggerations of the girl before opening up doors to other worlds. Through the looking glass, the girl takes trips to the circus, splashes with mermaids, and visits other wonderlands. A baby and a dog also see magical scenes in the mirror. Towards the book's end, Jeanette reclaims her mirror, but the regular mirror that replaces it has a few tricks, too. Both illustrations and story are almost on the mark. Darling, in her first book, paints deft fantasy, but her message becomes ambiguous when wordless sections take over. Day (Carl's Birthday, 1995, etc.) keeps the images vague--is that a new sibling in the scene, or the girl as a baby, or perhaps Jeanette and her infant?--and therefore hard for children to interpret. The magic of this mirror is somewhat impalpable.

Pub Date: April 16th, 1997
Page count: 32pp
Publisher: "Farrar, Straus & Giroux"