ANNO'S MAGICAL ABC: An Anamorphic Alphabet by Mitsumasa & Masaichiro Anno Anno

ANNO'S MAGICAL ABC: An Anamorphic Alphabet

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If you draw something warped and misshapen in a particular way and then look at it in a distorted mirror, its reflected image will look quite normal. This method of drawing is called anamorphosis and its purpose is solely to mystify and amuse."" Anamorphosis, the Annos continue, was once very popular in Europe, and in Japan where the pictures were meant to be reflected on the sheath of a sword. As a sword substitute, sheets of mirror paper are supplied here with each book, along with instructions for wrapping them around a can or other cylindrical object and standing the can in the middle of each page. Thus the distorted letters and pictures, which might, on the page, recall the treatment of Australia on a North-Pole-projection world map, are restored to their familiar proportions. To compound the novelty, the book can be begun at either end (the same introduction appears at both openings), so that you proceed either from A to Z through capital letters and simple objects (a house, a doll, an airplane, a sailing ship) and then from z to a in lower-case letters and animal pictures. . . or, the reverse. Either way the two alphabets are divided in the center by instructions for making your own anamorphic drawings (not a project for the usual picture-book age group), plus word lists (in English and Japanese) and biographical material normally found at the end of a book. It's an elegant oddity, of likely fascination to a minority (possibly of upper-elementary school age) intrigued by the ingenious--but the price and the impermanence of the ""mirror"" make it a consumer luxury rather than a circulating library item.

Pub Date: Aug. 28th, 1981
Publisher: Philomel