Sunday, October 24, 2010

Book Review : Zoom

Title : Zoom
Illustrator : Istvan Banyai
Publisher : Puffin
Age Group : All

Review written for CROCUS 2010 at Saffron Tree

I haven't (read)seen many wordless books but the moment I laid my eyes on 'Zoom', it just beckoned me to jump in, and the result was amazing, I was speechless. I could not identify the reason - was it the simplicity of the pictures or the complexity of the same, was it the imagination of the author(illustrator) or my own, was it what the pictures showed me or what I wanted to see. I was confused. But after having gone through this whole experience, one thing was certain, not for a moment I felt the need of any word throughout the book. In fact, just for the sake of argument, if I imagine this to be a regular book with words, I see the whole magical experience and impact getting diluted. A perfect book that seamlessly transcends all possible human defined boundaries.

Just to give you a glimpse of what to expect, the first page shows a bright red drawing which looks like a portion of a star fish with simple pattern of yellow dots on it, you turn the page and the second page shows the picture of the previous page zoomed out and that red drawing happens to be a small crest of a rooster. The following page shows a frame further away in distance where we see the rooster actually perched on a fence and some people watching it through their window. But this is not all, in fact, this is just the beginning. Wait till you see where this whole scene is coming from (or taking you to?). I can assure you, you will be pleasantly astonished. And by the time you reach the last page of the book (which could actually be the first page too), you'd be transported to a different level altogether, imagining your life bit by bit, frame by frame. A wonderful device to use with children and let them anticipate what the zoomed out scene would be. We tried doing this at home and got some very interesting scenarios.

Simply a wonderful book that allures young and adult minds alike to let the flight of unguided imagination loose which may never have been attempted before. A great tool to appreciate every single part of any photograph, any picture, any art work or any frame of life, then backing up a little and getting the wider picture. It can be viewed as a philosophical guide too. It encourages the readers to admire the importance of keeping the things in the right perspective. At any particular juncture of life what we see in front of our eyes is just a tiny speck of what the reality actually is, and the image that one set of eyes deciphers or captures could be totally unique in this wide world with each person making his/her own unmatched image.
I think, it is extremely important to learn first and then to pass this most important message to the children to appreciate the different perceptions of different individuals, and judging the same on a single benchmark is just not right. Such books are the perfect aids in bringing home this point.

An exclusive way to look at everything, be it a picture, a situation, an entity or life. I would say, it is not just a book, but an experience and you must enjoy it!!

Published in 1995, Zoom was honoured as one of the best children's books of the year by the New York Times and Publisher's Weekly.

Image Source : Amazon


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