Monday, 30 April 2012

Zoom and Rezoom

As promised, this week I'll devote myself to proper consideration of our Gosh purchases.

I like to start the week with the simplest books and progress in complexity and accordingly I'll begin today with two wordless books. Don't be deceived however, these are not picture books for the youngest and whilst Bill has enjoyed them I think he will get even more out of them in years to come. The husband had to take a tea break halfway through looking at 'Zoom' as his head was being messed with so much.

They are relatively speaking 'old' books; first published in 1995, but I had not come across them before and I'm not entirely clear whether they were ever published in the UK. Certainly the copies I bought were US imports. I apologise however if you are reading this review rolling your eyes at the idea that anyone could not know these classic books. They may have just passed me by until now.

I'm very glad that I've rectified my omission if that is the case. They are objects of marvel and wonder; solo trick or gimmick notwithstanding. Istvan Banyai presents a series of single frame images; one to a page, and each drawn with both technical precision and classy graphic clarity. As you turn each page, you grasp that you are being presented with a series of optical illusions as each image zooms out on the previous one. Thus a farm turns out to be a toy farm being played with, which in turn becomes the front cover of a magazine. The entire zoom out being sustained through the entire 30 page book. It's very, very clever.

Once you understand the principle there is more fun to be had going back through the pages and spotting the clues that tell you where the next scene might be heading. There is also fun to be had contemplating the world around you anew from the perspective of an ant or a Lego man. It  reminds me of this toy that has been doing the rounds on the internet which allows you some contemplation of the infinite in zooming. Dizzy making Alice in Wonderland stuff. I may need to spend some time just sitting on an ordinary chair holding an ordinary mug looking out of an ordinary window trying to reacquaint myself with the scale of human.

'Zoom' by Istvan Banyai, pub. Puffin isbn 978-0-14-055774-9


  1. Just came across this book,,9781405371346,00.html?/Zoom_Encyclopedia_DK_Publishing and thought of you - they might work well together?

    1. Ooo yes! Although looks disappointingly like a normal encyclopaedia (albeit a pretty one) on the 'See inside' thing. Which may be just as well for my poor messed about with mind.