The Other Side by Istvan Banyai

Summary: Grade 6 and Up–There's nothing mundane or predictable about Banyai's wordless picture book. As in Zoom and Re-Zoom (both Viking, 1995), the illustrator takes his audience on a visual journey that begins with a nearly blank page that, when turned, reveals instructions for folding a paper airplane. On the next page, a girl in her high-rise apartment practices her cello and a paper airplane can be seen outside her window. Readers flip the page to see the girl's building from the outside looking in. Paper airplanes are everywhere, thanks to a young neighbor one floor up who has been practicing his folding skills. Each pair of pages, front and back, presents inside and outside views, and although the scenes are not obviously linked to a larger plotline, they are connected through reoccurring images, colors, and themes. This is a challenging book, one that allows for creative speculation. The graphite-rendered artwork is quirky as well as infinitely interesting. Not everyone will get the sly humor, or be prepared to indulge in a book that demands such work. However, those who give it a try will be drawn into a thought-provoking, whimsical world. It's a book that begs to be talked about, and teachers will find it a useful tool for discussions about point-of-view and perspective.–Carol L. MacKay, Camrose Public Library, Alberta, Canada Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Notable Information: This text would be most efficiently used in an upper grade classroom. The way the story builds off of the perspective shifts is highly complex. It is a highly usable text to teach perspective, point of view and symbolism. The Other Side would also pair nicely with a writing activity based around the perspectives of the text. Students could also develop complex conceptual ideas that could become literary essays.

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