Open this wordless book and Zoom- from a farm to a ship to a
city street to a desert island. But if you think you know where you
are, guess again. Mysterious landscape of pictures within pictures,
nothing is ever as it seems. You won't believe your eyes.
Istvan Banyai is a commercial illustrator and animator as well as the author/illustrator of Zoom (Viking and Puffin) and REM (Viking). He lives in New York City.
PreS-Gr 3‘This wordless picture book re-creates the effect of a camera lens zooming out. For example, one illustration shows a boy on a cruise ship, the next shows him from a distance, and the next reveals the whole ship. Finally, the viewpoint moves back farther and it turns out that the ship is actually a poster on a bus. The perspective continues to recede, revealing the bus as an image on a television screen. Three pages later, viewers see that the person watching TV is drawn on a postage stamp. The final picture shows a view of Earth from space. To heighten the effect, all of the full-color illustrations appear on the recto, while each verso is completely black. It's fun to watch the transition in perceptions as a farm becomes a toy, the girl playing with it is on a magazine cover, etc. The novelty soon wears off, however, and nothing else about the book is memorable. The paintings themselves are not particularly interesting and would not stand alone well. David Wiesner's Free Fall (Lothrop, 1988), David Macaulay's Black and White (Houghton, 1990), and Ann Jonas's Reflections (Greenwillow, 1987) use visual tricks, but also have richer artwork and more involving action.‘Steven Engelfried, West Linn Library, OR
This provocative wordless volume can be ``read'' either from front to back or even from back to front. Either way, it's a startling experience. Its illustrations ``zoom'' out, as though a viewer has rapidly backed away from each. For example, the first painting, of a jagged-edged red shape, turns out to be a detail of a rooster's comb; as the pages turn, the bird diminishes in importance, until the barn where he stands is shown to be a toy on a magazine's cover. That magazine dangles from the hand of a dozing boy, who himself becomes but a smudge on an advertising billboard. These shifts in perspective repeat until the book abandons earth altogether. The last image is a tiny white sphere-our planet-against a night sky. The bold color and level of detail in Banyai's cartoons recall ``Prince Valiant'' or another of the ``realistic'' Sunday comics. If the concept is not wholly new, the execution is superior. Readers are in for a perpetually surprising-and even philosophical-adventure. All ages. (Mar.)
"Readers are in for a perpetually surprising-and even
philosophical-adventure,"--Publisher's Weekly, starred
"This book has the fascinating appeal of such works of visual trickery as the Waldo and Magic Eye books."-Kirkus Reviews