Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems
by Marilyn Singer; illus. by Josée Masse
Primary Dial 32 pp.
2/13 978-0-8037-3769-3 $16.99 g
“It’s not easy,” warns Singer in a note about the “reverso,” a verse form she created and first used in Mirror Mirror (rev. 3/10); and the first poem (“Fairy Tales”) in this companion collection gently alludes to the craft involved, “how hard it was to write.” The poems here again subvert traditional tales by offering two points of view on the story: what goes down on the left-hand of the page goes up on the right, with line breaks and punctuation revised for strategic effect. Thus the dilemma of the Little Mermaid: “For love, / give up your voice. / Don’t / think twice” advises the first verse, while the second ends with a warning, “Think twice! / Don’t / give up your voice / for love.” The poems require (and reward) close attention; the twelve referenced tales also include “Puss in Boots,” “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” and “The Twelve Dancing Princesses,” with notes on each appended. Once again, the acrylic illustrations mirror the poems’ structure. On the left, a princess sleeps on a gentle cloud-leafed bed; on the right, a sensible girl massages her back wrought achy by that pesky pea tucked far below.
From the January/February 2013 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.