Title: Through the Magic Mirror
Author: Anthony Browne
Illustrator: Anthony Browne
Publisher: Walker Books
Genre: Children’s Picture Book
Book format: Paperback
Description: Toby is fed up. Fed up with books, fed up with toys, fed up with everything. But when he walks through the magic mirror, things are amazingly different. Toby can hardly believe his eyes.
*Free copy provided (as part of the ‘Anthony Browne Collection’) by publisher for review…
Review: This is such a surreal book and an amazing visual feast! Toby is bored and doesn’t know what to do with himself, he tries going downstairs but there’s nothing to do, so he goes back upstairs and spots something strange in the mirror. ‘Through the Magic Mirror’ is a small book, around A4 in width and is filled with lots of thick and glossy pages of illustrations and a little text.
The story is all about Toby’s adventure through the magic mirror and what he sees when he’s stepped through. The world beyond the mirror is very strange and completely surreal where nothing is what it first seems. There are invisible people walking, a window of a building is filled with fish swimming and a dog is walking a man! There are so many strange and surreal things and the book doesn’t really make much sense but it’s more of a visual experience than anything else.
The illustrations are amazing and very Dali-like in their appearance, which I love as Dali is one of my favourite painters. Each picture needs to be looked at more than once as some pictures seem normal at first and then you spot just how surreal things are! The book is really about the pictures and what you see and I love how colourful some of them are, it’s a very strange and different world to the one we know.
The ending of the book is satisfying although to be honest it seemed a bit strange when I first read it as the ending was so abrupt, but it’s a great end to the visual experience Toby has and the book is a great illustration of how the imagination can take you on a journey. I have to say I do like this book for how surreal it is although I do wish there was a stronger story throughout like there was in the book ‘Look What I’ve Got!’ which is also by Anthony Browne. But seeing as the book was first printed in the 70s, it’s still a great book which I’m sure many kids and adults will enjoy looking at, especially if you enjoy looking at surreal pictures!
-Review first appeared online September 2017 – now republished here.
What do you think of this book? Do you like surreal images? Have you read any other books by Anthony Browne? Let me know what you think in the comments below 🙂