Open this wordless book and take off on a mindbending visual
journey full of twists, turns, and surprises.
Istvan Banyai (http://www.ist-one.com) was born and educated in Budapest, Hungary. He is a commercial illustrator and animator whose works has appeared in numerous newspapers and magazines and on album covers. Mr. Banyai lives in Connecticut.
K-Gr 5‘This remarkable companion to Zoom (Viking, 1995) is a visual journey, a cinematic picture book without words. Viewers are shown something that turns out to be just a piece of something larger, and thus not at all what they saw (or thought they saw) in the first place. With each page, one takes a step back to see the broader context. The image of an ancient archer is just a figure on a watch, the hand wearing the watch is making a rubbing in an Egyptian tomb, which turns out to be the Obelisk of Luxor in Paris, but not really because it's just a movie set...and on and on and on, until the final page, where the lights of a subway car disappear into a tunnel to become two eyes staring in the darkness‘or so it appears. While not the most technically accomplished artist, Banyai makes up for it in originality, an assured sense of design and composition, and an avant-garde sensibility that children, especially older ones, will love. He mixes traditional and contemporary images in a sly way: for example, one picture shows a woman in traditional Japanese garb, wearing a walkman, looking right at viewers with a trace of a smile on her face. His is a truly global view, moving easily from Europe to Asia to the U.S. (although you never really know where you are). Children‘small people in an adult-sized world‘are often fascinated with size and perspective. Re-Zoom comments on that, on reality and illusion, on visual awareness, on all sorts of things. A fun book with a lot to ``say''‘all in all, a valuable addition.‘Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Re-Zoom resumes, or more accurately, reprises, the layout and nothing-is-as-it-seems perspective of last season's Zoom. Featuring detailed drawings backpainted on animation cels, this text-free volume opens with a red-on-blue cave painting that, with the turn of a page, becomes a detail on a wristwatch. The next spread reveals that the watch belongs to a young man doing a rubbing of carved hieroglyphs... and so on. To surprise his audience, which may already expect the sequence of pictures to expand to infinity, as in Zoom, Banyai toys not only with spatial relations but with time and with cultural referents: people in 19th-century garb, admiring an image of Napoleon, turn out to be on a movie set; a woman in traditional Japanese dress sports a yellow Walkman. There are nods to the arts as well. A black-and-white Alfred Hitchcock and a blue bodhisattva sit astride a thundering elephant, and a dejected-looking Picasso rides the New York City subway. The finale-which leaves readers in a subway tunnel as the train's red taillights recede-may not be as mindbending as Zoom's outer-space flight, but is nonetheless a clever solution. All ages. (Sept.)