Suzy Lee,
Seven Footer Kids, 2010.

Ages 3–5

From a very early age children are fascinated with looking at themselves in the mirror. Suzy Lee’s new wordless picture book, Mirror, explores this universal childhood experience by introducing us to a young girl who beats boredom (or is it sadness?) by playing with her own reflection… until something unexpected happens.

Lee’s award-winning minimalist style of broad black brushstrokes with one accent color (in this case bright yellow) creates a great sense of movement in this book that is all about expression. On its skinny pages shaped like a mirror, making use of the gutter as the mirror surface, we find a young girl making faces in front of a mirror. She looks away, then directly into her reflection’s eyes; she sticks out her tongue… Soon she seems to have developed a full-blown relationship with her faithful reflection, playing exuberantly with it as they move closer and closer to each other. They get so close, in fact, that… uh-oh. She seems to have gone through the looking glass.

After a blank double-page spread that effectively creates tension, she’s back into view. But something doesn’t look right. She no longer controls her reflection, which seems to have acquired a life of its own. She doesn’t like it one bit, and finds a way to teach the “misbehaving one” a lesson. But at what cost?…

The book ends exactly as it started: with the young girl huddled on the floor, covering her face. No play mate in sight.

Suzy Lee’s books are so simple, and yet so sophisticated in their simplicity. This one is a rare gem, both on the surface and beyond.


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