Books by Istvan Banyai

Released: Oct. 15, 2007

"Sijo," Park tells readers of this beguiling wee book, "is a traditional Korean form of poetry. . . . The first line introduces the topic. The second line develops [it]. And the third line always contains some kind of twist." Thus, "Pockets": "What's in your pockets right now? I hope they're not empty: / Empty pockets, unread books, lunches left on the bus—all a waste. / In mine: One horse chestnut. One gum wrapper. One dime. One hamster." Some sijo rhyme, some use six short lines instead of three long. All provide an intriguing glimpse into an art form that, like haiku, seems simple but is in fact exacting. The poems spring from roots in a child's everyday life, from school to the out-of-doors to sports to homey activities, each inviting readers to examine their familiar world in new and surprising ways. Banyai's whimsical decorations evoke the early 20th century, tiny moppets clad in knee pants gamboling about the page, adding their own droll commentary to the verses. A concluding note provides background, resources and tips for readers to try their own sijo. Fresh and collegial, this offering stands out. (Picture book/poetry. 9-12)Read full book review >
THE OTHER SIDE by Istvan Banyai
Released: Oct. 1, 2005

A nearly wordless and somewhat fractured foray into what happens when you look at things from a different perspective. Graphite illustrations, with spots of red or yellow digitally added and altered, explore the other side of everything, from windows to the earth. An origami airplane (diagram included) soars out an open window. A real airplane is viewed from the sky and then from its interior, where a boy sees the beach where he's about to vacation. Readers see a zoo tiger from inside and outside the bars, and a clown on stage in front of and behind the curtain. Things are not always what they seem, of course, as what looks like a robbery on one side turns out to be a movie shoot on the other. A boy in a red baseball cap, a girl with a pink bow in her hair and a spotted dog turn up in various places. One even sees the earth from the moon, and the moon from the boy's rooftop. Full of ways to tease out the story and think about how to see things. (Picture book. 5-10)Read full book review >
REM by Istvan Banyai
illustrated by Istvan Banyai
Released: May 1, 1997

Hold on tight—Banyai (Re-Zoom, 1995, etc.) has ``animated'' a new visual adventure that takes place behind closed eyes, where the dreamworld offers many more irrational possibilities than the realms of his earlier work. Fans of Crockett Johnson's Harold will find the magic protocol familiar: A drawn line becomes a pond; the artist's reflection, when swirled in the water and fished out, turns into a coat. The clown, pup, and snowman who populate this world pay tribute to another dreamtime visitor: Windson McCay's Little Nemo. As wordless as Banyai's other books, the illustrations draw onlookers in; the same pictures that turn a frog into a prince also turn the pages and move readers through the book. It ends with a clichÇ—it was all just a dream—but not before the images have been grounded in the real toy vehicles and dolls of the young dreamer's room. (Picture book. 5-9) Read full book review >
RE-ZOOM by Istvan Banyai
illustrated by Istvan Banyai
Released: Sept. 1, 1995

This wordless follow-up to Zoom (p. 220) cannot rightly be called a sequel, since there is no storyline. But it is strikingly similar to its predecessor in style, concept, and design; only the subject matter, its least important component, has changed. Like Chinese boxes in reverse, each colorful illustration is revealed as part of a larger artwork. Thus a scene of a movie director riding an Indian elephant proves to be a decoration on a steamer trunk, which is only part of an artist's painting, etc. More than a gimmick, the technique offers a fresh perspective on how art orders and gives value to what we see. There's a delightful surprise each time the ``plot'' takes a sharp turn into a new locale. The perspective shifts are slightly more complex here than in Zoom, and the pace is a bit awkward; younger readers might orient themselves with the first book before getting acquainted with this one. Banyai's artwork is eye-grabbing but emotionally coola combination that works to perfection in this particular book. (Picture book. 4+) Read full book review >
ZOOM by Istvan Banyai
illustrated by Istvan Banyai
Released: March 1, 1995

Each page of this wordless book by newcomer Banyai is a close- up detail from the scene on the next page. The drawings are realistic in slightly bedazzled colors, and the effect is of a movie camera panning backward, faster and faster, beginning with the red comb of a jaunty rooster and ending with a distant view of Earth whirling through space. Along the way, several surprises unfold, as each commonplace detail is shown to be but a small piece contained in a totally unexpected scene. Once readers reach the end, they can work from back to front for a zoom-in effect. The images are not always compelling, but this book has the fascinating appeal of such works of visual trickery as the Waldo and Magic Eye books. (Picture book. 4+) Read full book review >